Wayne Gretzky, the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, minority owner, and supposed creditor to Jerry Moyes has officially stepped down from his coaching role after never reporting to Coyotes training camp. In perhaps the most unprofessional move one could fathom for one of hockey’s “ambassadors”, Gretzky will go down as probably having the worst player skill to coaching skill ratio. Gretzky’s contract status with the club remains unclear – we’ve heard several discrepancies in the reports of the intricacies of his contract (one claim on the Fan590 stated that he had a clause to still receive payments AFTER death). Gretzky is also reportedly owed $9-million (ish) in connection with his stake in the club; however, court filings also show that the City of Glendale has challenged that amount. It’s a mess in Phoenix and we no doubt expect the Great One to come under more scrutiny as the bankruptcy hearings adjourn. However, it should not overshadow the fact that it took Gretzky at least 10 days to come to this decision – good luck getting another coaching gig, Great One.
Ulf Samuelsson still appears to be the interim head coach but the Coyotes also hired former Calgary and Columbus coach Dave King into the assistant’s role.
UPDATE: The Globe and Mail reports that former Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett is the leading candidate to take over the coaching duties. A REAL coach in Phoenix? They might actually come close to reaching their potential.