There are a lot of skeptics around whether or not an NHL team will thrive in Las Vegas, but prospective owner William Foley is not one of them.
“We’re very confident Las Vegas is ready for hockey,” Foley said in an interview with Elliotte Freidman on Hockey Night in Canada.
Part of his confidence may come from his friend and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky.
The duo have been working together selling wine throughout the United States, and it seems that business discussions have detoured towards a potential NHL franchise coming to Las Vegas.
“I’ve always felt that it’s bad luck to start planning too far in advance,” Foley said of Gretzky’s current involvement. “But, Wayne is an advisor. He’s an advisor today, and I’m sure he’ll be very helpful to us as we move forward.”
In addition, Gretzky confirmed with Sportsnet’s John Shannon that he has been an “unofficial” advisor to Foley.
If Gretzky’s role does become more defined in the upcoming months it wouldn’t be the first time the all-time NHL scoring leader has dipped his toes in the frigid water of NHL ownership. The 53-year-old was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes ownership between 2001-2009. He’s also been mentioned in rumours connected to the Toronto Maple Leafs presidency, though nothing ever came of those.
Since stepping down as head coach of the Coyotes back in September 2009, Gretzky has been largely absent from the NHL in an official capacity, and his involvement with a new Las Vegas franchise would mark a heralded return for the revered former NHL star.