Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Wayne Gretzky steps down from front-office role with Edmonton Oilers

The 60-year-old says he will not be able to “dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization’

Wayne Gretzky says he is stepping down as vice-chairman of the Edmonton Oilers.

Gretzky said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday he is making the decision, “given the pandemic and other life changes.”

The 60-year-old Gretzky says he will not be able to “dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization.”

The move comes one day after the Oilers were eliminated from the playoffs when the Winnipeg Jets completed a sweep of Edmonton in the first round. The Oilers featured the league’s top two regular-season scorers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“The Oilers, their fans and the city of Edmonton have meant the world to me for four decades — and that will never end,” Gretzky said.

The NHL’s all-time leading scorer and a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a player with Edmonton, Gretzky returned to a front-office role with the Oilers in 2016.

In his bio on the Oilers’ website, the team says Gretzky’s duties included working with the Oilers Entertainment Group team on the commercial side of the business, as well as supporting development initiatives in the district where the Rogers Place arena is located.

The team said Gretzky worked closely with owner Daryl Katz and Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson in all aspects of the organization.

Ken Holland is the team’s general manager and president of hockey operations.

Gretzky was not involved in day-to-day dealings with the media during his time in the Oilers front office.

Gretzky returned to his hometown of Brantford, Ont., after his dad, Walter, died in March and delivered an emotional eulogy in a nationally-televised ceremony.

Rogers Place opened in 2016, and co-hosted the Stanley Cup playoffs with Toronto last summer in front of no fans because of COVID-19. The Tampa Bay Lightning ended up hoisting the Stanley Cup in Edmonton.

The arena also was the site of the world junior hockey championship, played in front of no fans, during the most recent Christmas holidays.

As a player, Gretzky led the Oilers to four NHL titles before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in a blockbuster deal in 1988. He went on to play for the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers before retiring in 1999.

After his playing career, Gretzky went into coaching with the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons.

Gretzky also was executive director of Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team in 2002 and 2006. The ‘02 team won gold in Salt Lake City.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

NHL

Just Posted

Christina Lake Fire Department’s Chief Joe Geary eyes the camera from behind the wheel of the department’s 40-year-old bush truck. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Christina Lake FD needs new equipment, upgrades, prompting loan by RDKB

It’s not whether the department needs the equipment, it’s how voters will pay for it, says Regional District

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

Greenwood Elementary’s Nelson Thompson (Grade 5) and Lincoln Simmonds (Grade 6) take a fun-filled turn on the swing at Lions Park Thursday, June 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
IN PHOTOGRAPHS: ‘This is yours now,’ Greenwood Mayor tells children at playground opening

The opening ceremony at Lions Park was attended by kids from Greenwood Elementary Thursday, June 17

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read