October 12, 2016 3:24 pm
Updated: October 12, 2016 9:00 pm

Wayne Gretzky rejoins Edmonton Oilers in off-ice role

WATCH ABOVE: Wednesday marked a significant day in the history of the Edmonton Oilers. Not only was the team playing its NHL home opener, it was doing so in its brand new downtown arena. And to top it off, the team announced it was bringing back the most beloved player in team history to fill an off-ice role.


Moments after a celebrated bronze statue of him was unveiled in its new location at the Edmonton Oilers’ new home, the team dropped a bombshell and revealed Wayne Gretzky was rejoining the hockey team he led to four Stanley Cups in its heyday.

However, The Great One’s new role won’t see him slapping pucks or tucking a No. 99 jersey into his hockey pants, Gretzky was named partner and vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

Watch below: Edmonton Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz welcomes The Great One – Wayne Gretzky – back into the Oilers organization as a partner and vice-chair of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

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Gretzky has some front office experience in hockey already. In 2009, he left the Phoenix Coyotes where he had spent time as a part-owner, coach and head of hockey operations.

“We felt that this was a really great opportunity for me to get back into the game and to have the chance to do what we all want to do – win a Stanley Cup,” Gretzky said.

“Over the years, it’s always been fun coming back to Edmonton. I’ve had opportunities over the last three, four, five years to be in the National Hockey League and sort of chose to step back and take my time,” he added, noting Katz and him met a few months earlier to discuss to possibility of returning to Alberta’s capital.

Watch below: As he was introduced as a partner and Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group, Wayne Gretzky discussed why he made the move and commented on the Oilers being a “machine headed in the right direction.”

Media gathered outside Rogers Place Wednesday afternoon where the iconic bronze statue of Wayne Gretzky was unveiled at the Edmonton Oilers’ new downtown arena.

The statue was a fixture outside the hockey team’s former home at Rexall Place for nearly 30 years but was taken down so it could be re-erected at Rogers Place.

READ MORE: How much will it cost a family of 4 to see an Edmonton Oilers game at Rogers Place?

Gretzky spent his most successful on-ice years as an Oiler winning four Stanley Cup championships with the team.

Watch below: ‘Edmonton was always Wayne’s home’: Daryl Katz

READ MORE: Optimism in the air as Edmonton Oilers prepare to start NHL season

The Gretzky announcement was made just hours before the puck dropped on the Oilers’ home opener in their new downtown arena.

The Great One had great things to say about the current Oilers roster Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s a machine that’s heading in the right direction,” he said. “It’s a very capable group of winning the Stanley Cup.”

Watch below: The Edmonton Oilers have a Hall of Fame room inside Rogers Place. Kevin Karius takes us inside. 

With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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