LOS ANGELES — Wayne Gretzky will serve as the head coach of the Metropolitan Division for the NHL all-star game on Sunday.
The NHL announced the move on Saturday, two days after Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said that he would miss the all-star weekend festivities because one of his dogs is ailing.
Tortorella missed Columbus’s Thursday night game against the Nashville Predators as he returned to Ohio. He said he hopes to be back with the Blue Jackets next week and appreciates the support of the team and the NHL.
Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time points leader, was named the ambassador for the league’s Centennial season in September. He joins Montreal’s Michel Therrien, Minnesota’s Bruce Boudreau and San Jose’s Peter DeBoer as coaches for the 3-on-3 tournament format.
The league found a decent replacement in Gretzky, who is a former coach of the Phoenix Coyotes and also played eight seasons for the host Los Angeles Kings.