The greatest hockey player ever was going to take a pass on the Winter Classic alumni game. Wayne Gretzky had explained that he had plans with his family, which would preempt his participation in the December event.
But according to an ESPN report relayed via NHL.com, Gretzky may be changing his tune in response to pleas from the New York Rangers organization and their GM, Glen Sather:
"Glen called and we talked for 45 minutes," Gretzky told ESPN.com. "I really respect the Rangers doing that. That's classy of Salts, Mike Keenan [who is coaching the Rangers' alumni team] and the Dolan family. So I told Glen I would think about it."
The 2011 Winter Classic, between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers, will mark the fifth annual staging of the outdoor NHL game. Gretzky retired from the NHL in 1999.