By WEB STAFF
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated Monday that the league does plan to pay Wayne Gretzky the money he is owed from the Phoenix Coyotes, and if expansion occurs in southern Ontario, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be powerless to stop it.
Daly told sportsnet.ca that paying Gretzky is a top priority.
“It remains our intention to get Wayne paid because he’s owed some money. He has about $8-9 million that he’s earned that’s deferred money from his time with the Coyotes and that will be the first chunk we are trying to get him paid for,” said Daly.
Gretzky, who has kept a low profile since the Coyotes bankruptcy case, is still in the long-term plans of the NHL.
“We remained committed to Wayne,” said Daly. “He’s meant everything for this sport. He’s the greatest ambassador the sport has ever had and certainly should be part of the game going forward.”
Gretzky will be attending the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Toronto on Monday night.
Daly also addressed possible expansion into the southern Ontario market, and publically stated that there is nothing the Leafs can do if the league decides to expand.
If the NHL decides to put a second team in Southern Ontario, the Toronto Maple Leafs would not be able to stand in the league’s way said deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Monday.
“(The Leafs) don’t have to agree,” Daly told the Globe and Mail. “They can be dead-set against it, but that doesn’t mean they can stop the league from putting a franchise here if the league thinks a franchise here makes sense.”