The greatest player in the history of the game has finally been payed back the money that was owed to him. Maybe not by the person who actually owed him the money, but at least the NHL finally stepped up. Now, Wayne Gretzky can finally move on.
But where should he move on to? There has been plenty of talk about ‘The Great One’ joining an NHL team in a management role when he was finally repaid. Now that that has happened, the talk should really start to heat up.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have always been at the front of the line when it comes to being linked to Gretzky. This season, however, it looks like Toronto might have an advantage over other teams.
Nick Kypreos and Scott Morrison on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central pointed out that advantage. Prior to this season, Tim Lieweke was named the president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment. Previously, he was part of the Los Angeles Kings ownership. Of course, Gretzky frequented Kings games quite a bit as a former King, and there have been talks between Gretzky and Lieweke before.
They also mentioned all the celebrities that have brought in or mentioned to be connected to MLSE. The rapper Drake is an ambassador for the Toronto Raptors and Bon Jovi has been connected with MLSE in talks to bring an NFL team to Toronto. Gretzky, as the biggest hockey celebrity there is, would continue that trend.
Now, Toronto wouldn’t be the only one in talks with Gretzky. Morrison mentioned the Kings, Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers as other teams that would be interested in bringing Gretzky into the fold. The Rangers and Kings also seem like fits as he played for them during his career.
Another point that was brought up was the type of role would Gretzky fill with the Leafs. Well, Kypreos said something that I wholeheartedly agree with. Gretzky would not be an ambassador for the Leafs. He’s not that type of guy. He would need to in the hockey operations sector.
‘Kipper’ mentioned the President of Hockey Operations role and that would be the perfect role for Gretzky. I don’t think he’d change much of what Dave Nonis is doing, but Gretzky is a winner. If the Leafs were suffering, he would hold everyone, including Nonis.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need Wayne Gretzky. The Leafs are already the most valuable NHL team. Gretzky would bring them even higher. The top teams in sport always have the best front office. Gretzky is exactly the type of person the Leafs front office needs.
Above all that, it would be nice for Leaf fans to see the best NHL player of all time finally associated with the Leafs. If it happens, it would be a long time coming.