According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky will replace the Blue Jackets’ John Tortorella as head coach of the Metropolitan Division all-stars.
Wayne Gretzky will replace John Tortorella as Metropolitan coach for All-Star weekend
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 28, 2017
Tortorella pulled out of the event late last week due to one of his dogs, Emma, being gravely ill.
“I appreciate so much the number of messages I have received since the announcement,” Tortorella said to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. “But this absolutely is not an emergency. I want to clear that up. I needed a few days during the All-Star break – not having to go to the All-Star Game – to take care of something very important to my family and my son.”
Portzline elaborated more on the situation in his article from Friday:
Tortorella has a long history of supporting animal rights causes, and his family’s foundation – The John and Christine Tortorella Foundation – has, among other things, found homes for several rescue and foster dogs.
He has an affinity for pit bulls. The dog that is ailing is a 10-year-old pit bull, Emma. She belongs to his son, Nick, who is a U.S. Army Ranger stationed abroad. “I needed to see this through,” Tortorella said.
Gretzky, who is the greatest hockey player of all-time, spent four seasons as the Phoenix Coyotes’ head coach. He compiled a 143-161-24 record.
The most famous moment of Gretzky’s coaching career almost might be Alex Ovechkin’s most famous moment as a player. With The Great One on the bench, Ovechkin scored The Goal – a tally he has still not outdone 11 years later.
Headline photo: @aleksandrovechkinofficial
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