Gretzky leaves Oilers, takes TV job with TNT
Wayne Gretzky is departing the Edmonton Oilers for a TV job.
He will be a lead analyst on TNT's studio show beginning next season, Turner Sports announced Wednesday. Gretzky will earn around $3 million per campaign, according to the New York Post's Andrew Marchand.
"I’ve long admired Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, among other sports, and I’m thrilled to be joining the studio team in their inaugural NHL season," Gretzky said. "This is an exciting opportunity to share my experiences and perspectives on the game I will always cherish, while hopefully informing and entertaining fans along the way."
Gretzky relinquished his role as Oilers vice chairman on Tuesday.
ESPN reportedly approached Gretzky recently about a broadcasting role. His level of interest was unclear at the time. One day later, it was reported ESPN was out of the running for his services, and that he could still land at TNT. The latter is the other network taking over the NHL's U.S. TV rights next season.
TNT's parent company, Turner Sports, followed the Walt Disney Company's lead by inking a seven-year contract with the NHL in late April. Turner has also agreed to deals with play-by-play broadcaster Kenny Albert and analyst Eddie Olczyk - both of whom currently call NHL games for NBC, and that network's broadcast rights expire at season's end.
ESPN, which Disney owns, has reportedly hired Leah Hextall to do play-by-play. The company has also brought on Ray Ferraro and Brian Boucher to serve as analysts.
Gretzky rejoined the Oilers as a partner and vice chair in October 2016, many years after achieving legendary status with the club as a player. He worked closely with team owner Daryl Katz and CEO Bob Nicholson during his latest tenure with the team.