The Great One faces off with The Great Wall of China.
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Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky has been named a global ambassador for the Kunlun Red Star, a Chinese ice hockey club.
“This is a whole new market for not only hockey but for the National Hockey League going over to Asia,” Gretzky said during an interview on “Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street” on Friday, adding, “The Chinese people really, when they get behind something, they go all in.”
The NHL’s all-time scoring leader and nine-time Most Valuable Player has played a huge part in the game’s popularity in North America and across the world. Now, Gretzky will be promoting hockey in Beijing as the Chinese capital seeks to increase its hockey profile domestically ahead of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.
He is opening the KRS-Gretzky Hockey School, a youth development initiative in China that provides hockey training for kids aged 8 to 17.
“We’re going to do some clinics. We’re going to watch some hockey games, and we’re going to help promote the sport of hockey,” Gretzky said. “It is a great game, and everything I have in my life is because of hockey.”
The NHL returns to China in September for a pair of preseason games between the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames. This is the second time the NHL drops the puck in China after the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played a preseason game there in 2017.
Gretzky, a four-time Stanley Cup champion, said the NHL is in its best shape with players like the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sydney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin elevating the game to a whole new level.
“Our game is in better shape now than it’s ever been. The game is growing at a tremendous rate,” he said. “You see the success that Vegas had last year. You see the numbers, TV numbers are up higher than they’ve ever been.”
When he is not promoting the game he loves, the hockey hall of famer is involved in a number of business ventures including a new one with UNTUCKit.
Gretzky is investing in the American casual men's apparel company, which plans to open its first international retail location in Toronto, Canada.
“I liked the product so much I felt like, you know what, I think he’s got a tremendous business plan. I think it’s got a huge upside,” he said. “At that point in time, they hadn’t opened any stores in Canada. I felt like Canada would be a great location for UNTUCKit.”
You can catch the full interview with Wayne Gretzky on FOX Business’ “Maria Bartiromo's Wall Street ” starting at 8 p.m. ET Friday.