NBC Sports – For all the accolades Wayne Gretzky received this weekend as part of the NHL100 gala event, little was made of his ill-fated career as a head coach.
Which made sense, really. Gretzky’s success as a player far outweighed his accomplishments in four years behind the bench.
But, fittingly, the Great One set about changing that narrative on Sunday — filling in for absent head coach John Tortorella, Gretzky led the Metropolitan Division to victory at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game, as the Metro defeated the Pacific 4-3 in the finale at Staples.
With the win, Gretzky’s squad — captained by the reigning NHL MVP, Sidney Crosby — captured the $1 million grand prize.
Look, we all know how much money athletes make. Their contracts are public knowledge so it’s not like it’s a shocker to find out that they’re rich and (most likely) live lavish lifestyles. However, it’s another thing when you’ve paid a few hundred bucks to watch the best players in the NHL skate around like they don’t give a shit (because they don’t), and a group of them wins $1,000,000 for winning a meaningless tournament right in front of your face. Talk about cold blooded.
I understand that the NHL is incentivizing players to actually play a little bit harder for the fans in a game that’s stupid to begin with. But maybe, perhaps, keep it hush on the money thing? We’re all used to the MVP of an all-star game winning some bullshit car that they will inevitably give to a family member who needs it. It’s a little bit different when you see the big ass, Happy Gilmore-esque check awarded after the game, though. You have to imagine a lot of those fans walked out of the Staples Center today thinking, “What the fuck did I just waste my money on?”, all while knowing 11 of those players are going home with more money than a lot of those fans make in an entire calendar year. Not to mention the fact that those same players already make a fuckton of money. Today was yet another example of why the NHL is still a garage league, and why it will continue to be that way until they learn how to relate better to the average sports fan.