Wayne Gretzky probably chose poorly. When you're The Great One, and you retire, and you have club after club offering you ownership stakes and coaching positions and general manager responsibilities, you could probably do a bit better than to settle on the Phoenix Coyotes. Arizona's beautiful, sure, but that's a struggling franchise in a struggling league if ever there was one, and Gretzky might have done well to pick somewhere a little more, shall we say, stable.
But that's in the past. Gretzky is the face of the Phoenix Coyotes, and he's a Canadian, which makes this piece of information more than a little interesting: If the Coyotes are moved to Canada, Gretzky stands to make millions of dollars. From TSN in Canada:
Court documents show that Gretzky could lose up to $9.3 million US should Balsillie's bid fail in the bankruptcy case. The report indicates Gretzky would receive as much as $22.5 million of the $212.5 million bid, including $8 million in deferred payments and $14.5 million to resign as the head coach of the team.
Now here's the interesting part: Despite all this money Gretzky stands to make from the sale of the team and its eventual move to Canada, Gretzky has instead thrown his support behind current Chicago White Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf's attempts to buy the team. But why? Does Gretzky want to stay, and thinks his position would be in jeopardy under Balsillie? What gives?
The Coyotes are a mess, and as coach and part-owner, Gretzky remains by the club's public face. Whatever happens to the Coyotes happens to Gretzky. Especially when it comes to money.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.