The National Hockey League announced on Saturday that Wayne Gretzky will serve as the coach for the Metropolitan Division for the 2017 Honda NHL All Star Game.
Gretzky will fill in behind the bench for Columbus Blue Jackets head coach, John Tortorella, who had to step away from the honor due to a family emergency. Tortorella had been named the head coach for the Metropolitan Division back on January 10, when his Blue Jackets held the top spot.
On Friday, “The Great One,” was named amongst one of the 100 greatest players in the NHL. He will get the honor to coach two other players who made the list as well. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins were named to the NHL100 as well. Crosby will serve as the captain of the Metropolitan Division.
Having appeared in 18 NHL All-Star Games, Gretzky’s 13 goals and 25 points are the most in the history of the event. The all-time leader in goals (894) assists (1,963) and points (2,857) had a stint behind the bench for the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005 to 2009.
Michel Therrien, of the Montreal Canadiens, Bruce Boudreau, of the Minnesota Wild and Peter DeBoer, of the San Jose Sharks will serve as the bench bosses for the Atlantic, Central and Pacific Divisions.
The winning division during the 2017 Coors Light Skills Competition, on Saturday night, will get to choose their opponent and whether they want to play first or second in Sunday’s 20 minute three-on-three game.