No. 99 himself was hitting the links at the Oil Country Championship in Edmonton, so Global News took the opportunity to catch up with Wayne Gretzky about a variety of topics, including his golf game, playing with Dustin Johnson and the NHL’s decision not to send hockey players to the Olympic Games in 2018.
Gretzky on golf
“I play and I have fun and I’m not very good, and that’s OK.”
Gretzky said golf is an an activity he enjoys doing with his family, but stops short of asking his daughter’s partner Dustin Johnson for pro tips.
“He loves the sport… but he knows when he and I play together, we just play… We just have fun.”
Johnson and Paulina Gretzky announced their engagement in August, 2013. The couple has two children.
Gretzky on Olympics
Echoing the sentiments of players like Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall, Gretzky expressed disappointment with the NHL’s decision to opt out of the Winter Olympic in South Korea next year.
“I was a player. I can’t speak for the players of today but the honest truth is we all want to play, we all want to be part of the Olympics… it’s disappointing that we’re not sending our best players there.”
He said it’s simply a business decision by the NHL and NHLPA. Still, Gretzky believes it’s a missed opportunity.
“It only enhances the sport and makes the sport bigger and better worldwide.”
Gretzky on McDavid
Despite a banner year that included winning the Hart Trophy and earning a contract extension worth $100 million, Gretzky said McDavid won’t buckle under additional pressure.
“A guy like Connor was under the microscope since he was 10 years old, like I was. You understand that it doesn’t matter if you’re making $100,000 or $10 million, people expect you… to produce and be a winner.”
Gretzky said a big pay cheque isn’t really the difference maker.
“He’s a really mature young man and I think he’ll do a great job.”