Sports | May 26, 2021 11:53 am

Hockey Legend Wayne Gretzky Signs With Turner Sports to Center TNT’s NHL Coverage

The Great One will make $3 million per year as a head analyst

Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky addresses fans prior to the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Bruce Bennett/Getty

Partially due to the influence of his friend and former neighbor Charles Barkley, Wayne Gretzky is leaving his role as an executive with the Edmonton Oilers and will join Turner Sports to serve as the head analyst on TNT’s lead NHL studio show next season.

Gretzky announced his departure from the Oilers on Twitter and The New York Post reported his arrival at Turner Sports.

Though the duration of the 60-year-old’s deal with Turner has not been announced, he’ll reportedly make somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million per year, ostensibly more than ESPN was willing to pay to add The Great One to its new NHL coverage.

Gretzky may have been recruited by Barkley, but he told The Associated Press that no one should expect him to have the same on-air style as the outspoken Inside the NBA analyst.

“I’ll be honest and forthright, but I’m not, by any means, controversial,” Gretzky told The AP. “And just so we’re very clear, I’m going to be way more positive than I am negative. That’s just my nature. You can still be critical without going over the edge. I think everyone has a responsibility who was a player in the National Hockey League to try to grow the game, and if I can be part of making Turner a positive venue for people to watch, I’m all for it. In all seriousness, I wish I could still play but unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.”

Currently NBC’s top duo, Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk will join Gretzky at TNT as Turner’s top announcing team following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.

“The exciting additions of Wayne, Kenny and Eddie will jumpstart our NHL coverage with some of the best and biggest talents in the sport,” said Turner Sports senior VP of Talent Relations and Special Projects Tara August. “Their incomparable experiences within the game and unparalleled depth of knowledge will bring a distinct dimension to our game and studio coverage. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Turner Sports family.”

Besides airing regular-season and playoff games on TNT starting next season, Turner’s seven-year agreement with the NHL also includes the 2023, ’25 and ’27 Stanley Cup Finals.