Gretzky, Ellman Close Deal

Archived from 2000-01 season.

NHL teams

Wayne Gretzky became the owner of the Phoenix Coyotes as he and developer Steve Ellman completed their $88 million deal to buy the team.

"This has been a very long, tough, frustrating journey," Ellman said Thursday night. "We’ve arrived and we are thrilled to be part of the NHL."

The closing of the deal came one day before the NHL's February 15 deadline. Gretzky and Ellman had been given two extensions to get the financing for the deal, which took months longer than originally anticipated. Former owner Richard Burke retained control and kept Gretzky out of the locker room until the closing.

"At this point in time, we haven't really talked about the organization or plans we have in store for this team because we've been on the outside looking in," Gretzky said. "It would be crazy for us to think about changes that we can make. As time goes along, we'll go from there."

Gretzky has said he will re-sign goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who has promised to end his holdout and play for Gretzky. The team also has to decide what to do with Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, whose combined salaries make up one-third of the team's $39 million payroll.

"I've said this before. I think the team, with everything they've gone through, has had a pretty solid year," Gretzky said. "And we're proud to be part of it right now."

Contact The HockeyNut - Front Page - Archive

Copyright©1997-2001 The HockeyNut