Earlier today we passed along a report that Wayne Gretzky wouldn’t be participating in the Winter Classic alumni game between the Rangers and Flyers in Philadelphia.
We’re not sure if The Great One’s lack of enthusiasm for the event has anything to do with the fact he’s a rather large unsecured creditor of the Phoenix Coyotes, the franchise the league bought in 2009 after former owner Jerry Moyes put it into bankruptcy.
Regardless, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos thinks the NHL needs to make nice with Gretzky:
The league needs to do the right thing by picking up the phone and starting up a dialogue that makes everyone believe this relationship can once again be as strong as ever. Just like a new CBA deal, there’s a deal to be made with compromises that satisfy both sides.
The column’s timing was curious given what Kypreos’ colleague, John Shannon, was tweeting this afternoon:
Kypreos: The NHL needs to work things out with Gretzky!
Shannon: The NHL is trying to work things out with Gretzky.
The NHL knows it doesn’t look good when the greatest player in the game’s history is owed millions relating to a bankrupt franchise.
On the other hand, shouldn’t Gretzky be held personally responsible for his financial decisions? Most unsecured creditors lose everything in bankruptcy cases.
Of course, Gretzky isn’t just some unsecured creditor. He’s Wayne Gretzky. And if you’re the NHL, Wayne Gretzky has to be considered too big to fail.
Thus, the talks to figure this whole mess out.
The NHL will likely push for Moyes to cover most of what’s owing to Gretzky. After that, the other 29 owners would be smart to pass the hat and bring the dispute to a resolution.