Great One to Leafs makes great sense
Wayne Gretzky as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs?
It's not exactly a fresh idea. Heck! I floated it five years ago before the Leafs hired Brian Burke, a move that obviously didn't pay off for the blue and white. At the time, The Great One rolled his eyes at the suggestion, telling friends that life under the microscope in Toronto didn't seem very appealing. But in the words of another great one, country music legend Dwight Yoakum, (My second favourite singer after Elvis) "Baby, things change."
A lot of superstars in sports and entertainment complain about living under the spotlight. But when that spotlight fades, it's amazing how dull life can become for people used to being on center stage. That's something Wayne could be experiencing. Another important factor is that all of Gretzky's kids are starting to leave the nest. Wayne's son Trevor is playing minor league baseball, while daughter Paulina has finally toned down her wild ways and racy Twitter photos. Instead she's dating nice guy pro golfer Dustin Johnson, which means Gretzky doesn't have to spend time pacing the floor after midnight worrying about Paulina's partying.
Meanwhile, it's been a few years since Gretzky quit coaching the Coyotes and he's probably getting sick and tired of Janet nagging him to get off the couch. It was his wife's mother, in fact, who convinced Wayne to jump back into the game with Phoenix. Fed up with watching him flip TV channels from game to game during the NHL season, Gretzky says his mother-in-law gave him the kick in the butt he needed to return to hockey.
Now, it's time for Gretzky to make another comeback and take on a new challenge. However, forget about coaching again. He didn't have much success with the Coyotes and working an NHL bench is a 24/7 job that Gretzky probably doesn't want to commit to anymore. But serving as president of the Leafs, a team he grew up cheering for just down the road in Brantford, seems like a no-brainer. He almost played for the Leafs back in the late-90's before then-owner Steve Stavro nixed the deal at the last second. In addition Gretzky's famous hockey dad, Walter, still goes to Leafs games and Wayne also continues to own a successful restaurant in Toronto.
Beyond that, Gretzky is obviously a proven winner, with four Stanley Cup rings from his glory days in Edmonton. He was also the architect of Canada's triumph at the 2002 Winter Olympics; our country's first gold medal in 50 years of Olympic hockey. Of course, Gretzky also blew it at the 2006 Olympics, failing to name a young Sidney Crosby to a Canadian squad that finished out of the medals. But, hey! Even the Great One isn't perfect.
President of the Leafs, however, is the perfect job for Gretzky. Re-establishing himself in the game, returning to his roots and using his bright hockey mind to help the Leafs get back to the play-offs and maybe even beyond.
The only problem?
Right now "Gretz for Prez" is just a rumour, and both the Leafs and Gretzky deny they've even discussed it.
But that doesn't mean bringing the Great One home to Ontario isn't a great idea.