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Report: Gretzky a no-go for Winter Classic alumni game

Nov 22, 2011, 12:35 PM EDT

Wayne Gretzky AP

This time it seems like our hopes to see “The Great One” take the ice in Philadelphia for the Winter Classic alumni game are dashed again.

CSNPhilly’s John Boruk tweeted last night that Wayne Gretzky will not be participating in the alumni exhibition at Citizens Bank Park and has told folks with the Winter Classic as much. Boruk’s sources indicate that if the game was held in New York City he would have played in the game.

Considering that Yankee Stadium is hosting a college bowl game for the next couple of years, if we’re going to see Gretzky suit up for an alumni game we’re going to have to hope for St. Louis or Los Angeles to host one in the meantime. That’s… Not very likely to happen we’d assume.

While it’s disappointing to see that 99 won’t be playing, the number of other greats and Hall Of Famers that will be playing is off the charts. Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Eric Lindros playing for the Flyers and we’re likely to see a host of former 1994 Rangers suit up as well including Mark Messier and with Mike Keenan coaching the team, that will make the event a fun one.

Still, this has been the best opportunity to get Gretzky out there for an event like this and after seeing Mario Lemieux play for Pittsburgh last year, getting that megastar touch to the game would’ve made it nostalgia perfect.

  1. Jeff - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    That’s a damn shame. I’d love to see the Great One on the open-air ice.

  2. govtminion - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Very disappointing news… even more sad because of the caveat that if the game were in New York he WOULD play. Really? I’m no fan of Philadelphia myself, but… come on man, it’s one day, it’s the Winter Classic, it’s a chance to put on skates and see old friends and teammates again… do the right thing and make an appearance.

    If he’d blamed it on the NHL still owing him a small ransom, I’d almost be on his side. If it’s that he just can’t be troubled to go to Philly instead of New York, that’s really a shame.

  3. nhlbruins90 - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Given all that Gretzky did for the NHL over his career, there must be more to the story. This guy bent over backwards every day to help the league. Every game he played, in every city, every night … he was the go-to guy for an interview in front of the camera. And in every interview, he put the NHL in a good light. Lots of grunt work most super stars wouldn’t be bothered with.

  4. 8man - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    If I were Philly fan, I’d be insulted. Maybe it’s because McSorley won’t be there to have his back.

  5. xxakshunxx - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    I would think the NHL would be happy he’s not playing…they’ve already got a good amount of former all stars in the game to get people to watch and now they can have the Kings or Oilers in a winter classic in the near future and milk it with Gretzky coming back to be the spotlight for the alumni game

  6. donttouchthedirtypenny - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    The only alumni game I want to see Gretz play in is for the Oilers.

  7. atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Back during the original outdoor classic in 2003 Gretzky made it very clear that he had NO interest in playing in alumni games unless it was something like that IN Edmonton, I’m guessing he’d make the exception as well for a game in New York. He has no connection to Philly so I’m not sure why he would play there.

  8. ballsohardu - Nov 23, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Best player ever. Miss the great one

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