I have not met Wayne Gretzky personally, but he has been a hero of mine since the age of 3 (1983- when I first started to understand hockey). He is a complete class act. Here in Canada he is still idolized by many people, young and old alike. He has kept in the spotlight since retiring in '99 by being the "Executive Director" of the '02 (Gold Medal team) and '06 Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team and he gets in the news whenever anything involving the Phoenix Coyotes happens.
I'll be a happy man if hockey can regain and surpass its pre-lockout status and thrive in the States. If the fan base comes back in droves, a big budget TV deal may only be a few seasons away.
There will be no problem here in Canada, fans here have been starving for pro hockey. Although, I am sure that a large number of couch potatoes found a lot better things to do with their time last fall/winter/spring. This season, watch for the Minnesota Wild. With the rule changes opening and speeding up the game I think the quickness they have on their roster could make them the team to beat.
In closing and upon reflection, it is great to see that my childhood hero is turning into an adulthood hero. With the quotes I have posted here and from what I have seen from him over the last five or so years, Wayne Gretzky truly is a hero in the sense of rational self-interest. Increasingly, the sports world lacks true heroes, so it is good to see that Wayne Gretzky, due to holding correct principles (hard work and dedication) and acting accordingly, will always be one.
All the best,