The Great One himself was on hand for the grand opening celebration of No. 99 Gretzky’s Wine & Whisky at the Edmonton International Airport.
While the restaurant officially opened its doors in early September, Wayne Gretzky stopped in Tuesday afternoon to make it official.
Gretzky said he and his partner, HMSHost, started talking about an airport location about two-and-a-half years ago and the hockey great knew Edmonton was the right city for the restaurant.
“Edmonton is where I grew up and played and had a lot of fun and success. And it’s a great sports city so we’re thrilled that this is the first one of hopefully many,” he said.
“We’re truly thrilled and excited to put our first place in this airport. I hope people are going to enjoy it.”
The restaurant seats about 60 people and features a full menu, including Gretzky Estate Wines and his new line of Canadian whisky. There is also a kid’s menu.
The restaurant is located just inside the security gate.
Tom Ruth, president and CEO of EIA, said the restaurant will do great things for the airport.
“Having this iconic brand here with Wayne Gretzky, it really gives us an additional sense of place here at the airport, which is fabulous,” he said.
“All the money that we can generate at the airport, selling things that people like, also helps keep our fees low and adds to other flights, so it’s a wonderful day here.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the new group of players that they have. As a fan, I’m curious to see their team come together,” Gretzky said.
“This city has gone through a lot over the last seven or eight years. They’ve been great fans and loyal fans, and it’d be great to see them do very well this year and be successful as a team and as an organization.”
Gretzky will also be on hand for the official unveiling of his bronze statue, which was moved to the downtown arena from Rexall Place, now known as Northlands Coliseum.
The Gretzky Statue – which made a pit stop in Cochrane, Alta. over the summer for cleaning – will sit in a public area on the 104 Avenue sidewalk outside the Oilers Hall of Fame Room at Rogers Place.
The 950-pound bronze figure stands 9’2″ and was funded by Molson Breweries and gifted to the City of Edmonton. The statue spent 27 years outside the Coliseum.