The "G" Word
It would appear the Wayne Gretzky phenomena is over. We're just not that into him anymore. At least that's what it appears when Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome security staff are saying the extra crew they brought in for today's hockey game with the Phoenix Coyotes was all for not. There was barely anyone (fans) lined up to see him.
On the other hand, that might be from seven straight years out of the playoffs. Just ask the Flames about that. (It was pretty easy to get tickets pre-2004, when the Stanley Cup run was in Calgary.)
But lack of popularity is the least of The Great One's worries. He may not have a team to coach next year.
The Coyotes are in dire straights, such that Gretzky is spending much of his time focusing his players towards the ice instead of whether or not they will continue to get paychecks. The team is in fast need of a financial bailout. Although so far, it has no appointments with Congress but rather is seeking an investor. The National Hockey League is expected to step in should not meeting payroll becomes a reality. The Yotes are forecast to lose around $45 million by the end of the season and that could force it into bankruptcy.
Not making the playoffs for ever doesn't help attract donors. And obviously, the Gretzky factor matters not -- only if some rich guy is excited about the prospect of being in partnership with him. However, when it comes to that many millions, it's doubtful hanging out with the former #99 will make up for those winged dollar bills flying out of the window into Neverland.