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THE GREAT ONE IN NEW YORK: NHL, FOX COULDN'T BE HAPPIER
Published July 23, 1996
With the Canucks, Maple Leafs and Blues all bidding for his services, Wayne Gretzky's deal with the Rangers is for two years worth $4M a year. But NEWSDAY's Laura Price notes with added compensation and an MSG TV show, his intake could potentially be $5.5M a year (NEWSDAY, 7/22). The N.Y. POST's Larry Brooks claims the Rangers won't just be better on the ice, they'll be a better draw as well: "They will be an event, here and on the road. But they will be a team that is very much single-minded in its pursuit of the Cup. Did anyone say, Oilers of the 80's?" (N.Y. POST, 7/22). Price notes that Gretzky's signing could also spur former Oilers and unrestricted free agents Jari Kurri and Kevin Lowe to return to New York (NEWSDAY, 7/22). LEAGUE WINS, TOO: MSG Network/Fox analyst John Davidson: "This is very exciting, not only for the New York Rangers, but also for the entire National Hockey League. What's unique about Wayne's decision is that he chose to finish his illustrious career with one of the original six teams." Fox studio analyst Dave Maloney: "The best thing about Wayne's signing is the attention generated towards the NHL in July" (Fox Sports). In Toronto, Gare Joyce writes, "For a professional sports league seeking to increase its profile in the United States, to win the hearts and minds of John and Joan Q. Public from Maine to Hawaii, New York must fall in its thrall. The Great One will surely show up on Letterman as regularly as Regis. He'll have a hotline to Don Imus in the morning" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 7/23).