Wayne Gretzky is the greatest player of all time. He’s still known as The Great One, and most of his incredible NHL records will never be beaten. So when Gretzky decided to end his career, it didn’t come as a surprise that several teams wanted him in their organization. In May 2000, Gretzky bought a 10% share in the Phoenix Coyotes, and a year later, he became a majority owner.
And 2005 came the moment the NHL fans all had waited for. The Great One named himself the head coach of the Coyotes. Gretzky stayed with the team until September 2009, and his coaching days couldn’t be summarized as a huge success. Still, today, Gretzky doesn’t have the best reputation for his coaching game, but Rick Tocchet, who served as an assistant for Gretzky, has nothing but positive things to say.
On the Cam & Strick Podcast, Tocc shared a hilarious story of when Gretzky tried to light a spark in the team and buy daring players for national anthem singers’ numbers.
”I said to Wayne before a game in Detroit, ’Do something different.’ And the national anthem lady was really pretty. So Wayne says,’ Hey, whoever gets the game-winning goal gets her number.’ Anyways, we beat Detroit, and we had no business beating them.”
”We go to Dallas, and they always have those good-looking girls to sing the national anthem. So I tell Gretz that he has to do it again, and he does. We beat Dallas.”
”We go somewhere else, we got a three-game roadtrip, and we win. So we come home and we got three days off until we play in Arizona.”
But Wayne had to let go of the tradition when he suddenly saw his own daughter walking out on the ice.
”Wayne were behind the bench and then all of the sudden, who comes out to sing? Paulina Gretzky. So I say to Gretz, like, ’Hey, come on!’ And he goes, ’No. Fucking. Way.”
”That’s the sort of stuff he did as a coach. He was an engaging guy and he was always trying to shake up the threes a bit.”