Gretzky approached by potential MLSE buyers

November 17, 2011, 11:27 PM

An American private equity firm interested in purchasing a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has reached out to Wayne Gretzky to be part of their group, Sportsnet has learned.

It was earlier reported this week that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan could potentially sell its 79 per cent share of MLSE to a US-based financial firm, Providence Equity Partners.

Two independent sources told Sportsnet that Gretzky has been approached by multiple groups interested in purchasing the majority stakeholder of MLSE, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the latest being the Providence group.

Gretzky would not give any details on potential roles or which specific groups have targeted him. He has also been on the record as saying he was still unsure if and when he would return to the NHL.

“Wayne is often approached about becoming involved in various hockey opportunities,” Gretzky’s agent Darren Blake said. “At this point in time there is nothing happening involving the purchase of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wayne has always said that whoever purchases the Maple Leafs is getting a great franchise in a great city.”

He is still owed more than $8 million in deferred money for his involvement in the Phoenix Coyotes. That money is still tied up in the ongoing legal and bankruptcy battles between the NHL and former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes.

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