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Gretzky shoots down comeback rumor

Aug. 2, 2002 at 8:32 PM   |   Comments

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Phoenix Coyotes managing partner Wayne Gretzky Friday shot down rumors of a comeback attempt.

Amid published and broadcast reports fueled by former Coyotes center Jeremy Roenick, the 41-year-old Gretzky issued a four-paragraph statement that concluded:

"I am not planning on making a comeback to play in the National Hockey League with the Phoenix Coyotes."

Gretzky, the leading scorer in NHL history and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, acknowledged he participated in the Coyotes' four-week voluntary strength and conditioning camp, which included daily on-ice sessions at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz.

"I decided to take part in the camp for several reasons," Gretzky said. "One, I felt it was a good opportunity for me to train for my own personal well-being and take advantage of the superior instruction offered by the people at API.

"Two, I felt that the strength training would help stabilize my neck injury and possibly help prevent future surgery. Lastly, I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to skate with some of our future and current Coyotes' players and have some fun."

It was Gretzky's first serious skating session in nearly three years and prompted Roenick -- currently a member of the Philadelphia Flyers -- to tell reporters that "The Great One" was considering following the lead of Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux, who came out of retirement during the 2000-01 season.

"Several people have told me he's coming back. He's been working out a lot," Roenick said.

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