"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.
The Coyotes never made the playoffs during their four seasons with Gretzky behind the bench. From 2005-06 to 2008-09, he had a 143-161-24 record for a .473 winning percentage.
"The Coyotes scouting staff has put together a great group of young and talented players who are going to improve tremendously over the next few years," the statement read. "I'm proud of the team we've assembled, the organization with which I've been associated and the thousands of dedicated fans who have never wavered in their support of this young team. I'm confident that the best is yet to come for hockey in Phoenix."
TDR says: The irony of it all -- 'The Great One' is resigning as a loser coach -- perhaps one of the greatest hockey players of our day, Grets has only found failure in his attempt at coaching an expansion team, has had troubles in gambling and (albeit 'hot') wife that keeps him in the trashy headlines, and leaves a shaky organization that appears to be sitting in Glendale, AZ for one more year before Ba-gillionaire Blackberry-founder Jim Balsillie buys and moves the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario at the beginning of next season. Not what Sports Illustrated had in mind when they declared "Understanding His Genius" & "The Master of Modesty", is it?
Listen, I understand the franchise is in a horrific state of affairs currently and he may be sick-to-death of coaching a losing team, but regardless of how ailing your franchise is, there are still players showing up to training camp in the hope that your hockey family is still unified -- and get this...the Coach NEVER SHOWED UP. It is horrible enough when a player, such as Brandon Dubinsky misses the majority of camp and throws the locker room into chaos because of contract negotiations, but the 'Great One' (a.k.a. Coach of the Phoenix Coyotes) cited ownership reasons as an excuse for NOT SHOWING UP TO CAMP. This is bullshit. The team comes first, above everything else (except actual family) and he never demonstrated leadership this entire off-season to the franchise. It is only recently that one of the two bids has stated that Grets wasn't guaranteed a coaching position, well after the beginning of training camp - and this is just an excuse to duck out of further embarrassment. Truth is, he just couldn't be bothered any further. Shame, shame, shame on you Great One.
The Dark Ranger wants to nominate Wayne Gretzky to our first TDR award. In fact, I'd like to formally declare 'The Great One" the first recipient of the..
'GO PUCK YOURSELF' AWARD
...for taking the low-road and displaying no sense of shared hockey integrity when the 'goings get tough'! Well done, Grets....this is how you leave the NHL!!?