Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is a former legendary hockey player who has been described as the greatest player ever in the history of hockey. He was associated with many teams in the National Hockey League and ended his playing career after 20 fruitful NHL seasons.
Despite retiring, Wayne Gretzky has remained in the spotlight for anything hockey, either through pop culture references, his pursuits, or his family, which includes actress Janet Jones. The two have been married for more than three decades, with five children.
He Retired After 20 Years of Active Playing Career
When Wayne Gretzky retired from hockey in 1999, it brought the curtain on an exceptional career that began in 1978. The Canadian hockey icon had spent 20 years playing professional hockey, with over 1,500 games for nine teams.
During his career, he attained startling records. He was the leading scorer in the history of the National Hockey League and the youngest player to score 50 goals in a season of which he achieved at the age of 19.
His other records include being the only player to reach 3000 career points with regular season and playoffs combined, the fastest and youngest player to achieve 2800 points in 1422 games at the age of 38, and many others.
Following his record-breaking career achievements, Gretzky has received many honors, titles, and accolades such as the Horatio Alger Award, 8-time All-National Hockey League First Team, Hockey Player of the Century by Sports Illustrated, Office of the Order of Canada, and several others. So, when he said goodbye to the puck, it left many wondering what the next stage would be for the hockey legend.
Wayne Gretzky Transitioned to Team Ownership After Retirement
By hockey standards, Wayne Gretzky earned extremely well during his playing career. Thus, he was well-positioned to invest his wealth in various business ventures post-retirement.
Before retiring, Gretzky had begun laying the foundations of his post-hockey life, like securing ownership and partnership of the hockey teams, Hull Olympiques and Toronto Argonauts, respectively. He later sold his stake in the former in 1992.
When he retired, he bought a 10% stake in the Phoenix Coyotes. He became the business partner of the majority owner, Steve Ellman. As a minority owner, he was also the alternate governor, head of hockey operations, and managing partner.
Most recently, in 2016, he returned to his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, where he played for over ten seasons. He joined the team’s ownership and management structure as a partner and vice-chairman. In his role, he works alongside the majority owner, Daryl Katz, and the parent company’s CEO, Bob Nicholson.
However, his post-retirement relationship with hockey is not limited to upper management. He has also worked as a coach, specifically as the coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. While he was co-owner of the team, he became the team’s head coach and spent four years in the role between 2005 and 2009.
After leaving his coaching role, he also lost his ownership of the team, after the team’s holding company, Dewey Ranch Hockey LLC, filed for bankruptcy. Aside from coaching, Gretzky has remained connected to hockey with appearances in NHL alumni games and ambassadorial roles at the Winter Olympics.
In one of his ambassadorial roles, Wayne Gretzky was the Executive Director of the Canadian men’s hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Despite a controversial start to the tournament, his stewardship helped the team to its first gold medal in 50 years.
Wayne has Invested in Several Businesses Too
While his post-retirement ownership and administrative career with hockey come as no surprise, his investments outside of hockey might be. The hockey legend has a host of other business investments that range from owning racehorses to owning restaurants.
In partnership with his Toronto Argonauts co-owner, Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky owns Thoroughbred racehorses. One of them has won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, raising the reputation of the venture and return on their investment.
He opened a winery and distillery business in 2017, with products named No. 99. He also owns a few restaurants and bars in Toronto, like Wayne Gretzky’s and No. 99 Gretzky’s Wine & Whisky. In 2018, he launched another restaurant, a sports bar, Studio 99, in Rogers Place, Edmonton.
The former Los Angeles Kings player has also made money post-retirement from published books. In the year he retired, he published 99: My Life in Pictures, and in 2016, he published 99: Stories of the Game. Both books were successful, with the latter becoming the best-selling Canadian book of 2016.
Additionally, Wayne has continued earning money endorsing brands and businesses. During his active playing years, he made over $93.8 million in salary and endorsement deals from companies like Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Upper Deck Company.
Wayne’s business interests extend to sports equipment, where he is a partner in First Team Sports and Worldwide Roller Hockey, Inc. The latter is renowned for making roller hockey rinks.
His Business Pursuits Has Fetched Him $250 Million in Net Worth
A smart business strategy with a disciplined investment portfolio and a sizeable career earning has helped Wayne Gretzky to over $250 million in net worth. He made over $46 million in playing salary and an additional $50 million in endorsement deals.
His investment portfolio, before and post-retirement, spans different industries. From sports team ownership to real estate ventures and winery, he has been able to keep the multimillionaire lifestyle of his playing days afloat.
One of the many ways his $250 million net worth is apparent is his real estate purchases. In 2014, he sold his Beverly Hills house, including a vacant lot next to it, for $40 million.
Earlier in 2007, he and his wife sold their custom-built mansion in Thousand Oaks, California, to Lenny Dykstra for $18.5 million. They reacquired it later for $13.5 million after Lenny declared bankruptcy.
A man of his stature undoubtedly spends his money in other luxuries like cars (he once owned a Ford GT supercar) and expensive vacations. However, there is little public evidence of them. One of his most recent purchases was a Westlake Village, California mansion he bought for $3.6 million in 2017 and sold for $4.2 million in 2018.
Wayne Gretzky Has Been Married to His Wife for 30+ Years
Gretzky first met his now-wife, Janet Jones, while serving as a judge on the 1984 show, Dance Fever Competition. They later got acquainted when they met again at a basketball game in 1987. That reacquaintance led to a relationship, and in January 1988, the hockey icon proposed.
On July 16, 1988, the pair tied the knot at St. Joseph’s Basilica, in a ceremony described by the Canadian media as ‘The Royal Wedding.’ The wedding was broadcasted live, and members of the Fire Department were present as ceremonial guards. The ceremony reportedly cost the couple more than $1 million.
Since their highly publicized wedding, the couple has built a big and beautiful family, with five children. They gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Paulina Gretzky, in the same year they got married. Later in 1990, TY Robert was born while Trevor Douglas, Tristan Wayne, and Emma Marie were born in 1992, 2000, and 2003 respectively.
While Wayne is a globally renowned hockey star, his wife cuts a more reserved, but decidedly popular figure as an actress. She began her career in 1982 and has appeared in works like Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, Grease, American Anthem, The Flamingo Kid, and several others. Before their relationship and wedding, Janet was engaged to Vitas Gerulatis for two years.
Their Children are Famous Too
Having the Gretzky last name is more than enough reason for Wayne Gretzky’s kids to be famous personalities. However, they have added another layer to their claim to fame with their respective career pursuits.
His first child and daughter, Paulina, is a model who has dabbled in acting and music. She is the partner of the famous golfer, Dustin Johnson, and they have two sons together, namely Tatum Gretzky and River Jones Johnson.
Ty briefly followed in his father’s footsteps and played hockey for Shattuck-Saint Mary’s before he quit for a quieter life. Trevor, the third child, took things further, albeit as a baseball player. The Chicago Cubs signed him in 2011, but he was unable to cement a place in Major League Baseball. He eventually spent five years playing in the minor leagues for US and Canada teams.
Wayne Gretzky’s last two children, Tristan and Emma, are also sportspeople. Tristan is a golf player who dreams of playing professional golf someday and currently plays for Pepperdine University. Emma, the Gretzky’s last born, is a tennis player who, having been born in 2003, has a lot of life ahead of her.