“This was a difficult decision that I’ve thought long and hard about,” Gretzky said in a statement. “We all hoped there would be a resolution earlier this month to the Coyotes ownership situation, but the decision is taking longer than expected. Since both remaining bidders have made it clear that I don’t fit into their future plans, I approached General Manger Don Maloney and suggested he begin looking for someone to replace me as coach. Don has worked hard and explored many options. I think he has made an excellent choice, and so now it’s time for me to step aside.
Read the story here.
That was a pretty clear explanation from Gretzky. In my opinion, it was really his only option, as there are already enough distractions surrounding this young team, and Gretzky’s presence would have made it an absolute circus. The Great One has to wonder where it all went wrong in Phoenix, but today he made the right decision to step down.
I’d love to see him coach or manage in the future, but considering his ties to California, I do not know how likely that possibility is. A consulting role seems like the next step for Gretzky unless he gets the itch and decides to move.
Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail provides his take on today’s news.