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Relaxed Gretzky not bound for Russia

by Dan Rosen
Wayne Gretzky cleared up one very curious report about his future when he appeared on NHL Live with hosts E.J. Hradek and Craig Button Friday.

"I know one thing, I am not going to Russia," Gretzky said in regards to recent reports that he was offered the head coaching position for SKA-St. Petersburg, which plays in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Russian sources reportedly said Gretzky had been involved in discussions with KHL and SKA-St. Petersburg President Alexander Medvedev in recent months. Gretzky and Mark Messier went to Belarus in late January for the KHL all-star game and participated in the ceremonial opening faceoff.

"We went for a weekend and now they got me moving there," Gretzky said from his Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas. "There is only one true professional league and that's the NHL. I hope the KHL does well, but it's not the National Hockey League and I'm not going to Russia."

"I'm really having a lot of fun. I'm happy doing what I'm doing, being around the game and just watching the game. I feel better now, more relaxed and I'm much more at ease." -- Wayne Gretzky

While Gretzky admitted it would be "crazy" for him to say he will never again get involved the NHL, right now he doesn't see it in his future because life away from the stress and pressure of hockey has been a tonic he's never had before.

"I'm really having a lot of fun," he said. "I'm happy doing what I'm doing, being around the game and just watching the game. I feel better now, more relaxed and I'm much more at ease."

Gretzky and his wife, actress Janet Jones, have spent most of their time doing charity work and enjoying the success of their children.

Their daughter, Paulina, is forging a career as a singer, actress and model. Their oldest son, Ty, is on the golf team at Arizona State University. Trevor, the middle son, is a star junior quarterback and catcher at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, Calif. He's being heavily recruited by numerous Division I colleges.

"There's a lot of news out of Trevor. He's quite an athlete," Gretzky said. "He's a really good baseball player and a really good football player. He's 6-foot-5 and more importantly he has the work ethic. He's a natural leader, unselfish and he's very humble."

Gretzky and Jones also have two younger children, Tristan and Emma, who are 9 and 7, respectively.

"I am lucky because I have a great family that is very supportive of the things we do," Gretzky said. "It's fun for my wife and I, we get to be around our kids, watch them participate in sports and get involved in the community. Everything I have in my life is because of hockey, and this has been a new change for me and I have really enjoyed it."

Gretzky particularly enjoys not having the stress that comes along with coaching in the NHL.

"When you play there is pressure and you expect that and you want that pressure to be successful," he said. "It's the same as coaching, but when you're coaching it's a little more stressful because you can't dictate what is happening on the ice. I found the pressure from that point of view was really difficult for any NHL coach."
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