It was announced on August 12th, 2016 that Wayne Gretzky would finally be officially returning to the Edmonton Oilers this season.
Gretzky, the club's all time leading scorer and greatest player, was hired as the organization's Partner and Vice Chairman.
"We always felt that the Edmonton Oilers were his home," said team owner Darryl Katz, who had courted Gretzky for such a role for a couple of season. "This is a day that's been a long time coming. The Oilers family is honored to welcome Wayne back into an official role with the organization where his legendary career began, where he will have a hand in helping both the Oilers and the city of Edmonton return to a place of prominence."
What exactly Gretzky will be doing is a good question. He would appear to be largely used in an ambassador role.
"Whatever they want me to do, I'm there for them," Gretzky said. "I'll be around a lot. As time goes on, I'll spend more and more time in Edmonton and we'll get a place here and we'll spend more time in the city. I'm not running the team day-to-day. That's up to the staff that's in place. I'm excited to just be around it and be able to say I'm part of the Oilers."
Gretzky, who has not held an official job within NHL circles since 2009, of course also recently signed on to be the NHL's official ambassador for the 2017 centennial year. Gretzky insists any duties with the Oilers will not interfere with his appearances for the NHL.
"When I talked to Mr. Bettman this morning and told him that Daryl and I had struck a partnership, my obligation to the National Hockey League … I'll live up to it," Gretzky said. "I was going to do those events anyway, the outdoor game in Winnipeg, the outdoor game in St. Louis and the All-Star Game honoring the top 100 players in Los Angeles, so it really doesn't have an effect on that whatsoever."