Industry Profile: Ty Gretzky
Ty Gretzky laughed when asked about the text on his website proclaiming Gretzky Hockey School as the “greatest hockey school in the world.”
While the superlative might seem an obvious play on his father Wayne’s nickname, even The Great One would agree that there’s no reason not to set your standards high and do everything you can to achieve those goals.
As Gretzky Hockey School (www.GretzkyHockeySchool.com) enters its third year of operation, Wayne’s 25-year-old son, Ty, has helped the business expand to seven schools this summer in five locations.
California Rubber: You’ve expanded quickly from one school in 2014 to five last year and seven in 2016. How has that gone?
Ty Gretzky: Everything has run pretty smoothly. We’re excited about our seven schools this summer – St. Louis (June 1-5); Simi Valley, Calif. (June 13-17); Edmonton, Alberta (July 4-8 and July 11-15); Couer d’Alene, Idaho (July 25-29 and August 1-5) and Burnaby, British Columbia (August 8-12). Players ages 7-15 and their parents can get more information at our website or by emailing info@GretzkyHockeySchool.com.
CR: Who are some of the coaches you have lined up to work with the players, and will your dad be at the schools?
TG: My dad has a pretty busy schedule, but tries to be at all of the schools throughout the summer. I can say right now that he’ll definitely be at the one in L.A. (Simi Valley) like he was last year. We pride ourselves on getting some of the best coaches available to work with the kids at our schools – my uncles Keith and Brent Gretzky, former NHL player Terry Yake, New York Rangers skill development and skating coach Mark Ciaccio, and others. Our players will be getting the same type of instruction that NHL players get, which a lot of other camps can’t say. Our coaching staff is without a doubt the most important aspect of our schools.
CR: What makes you confident enough to say that this is the “greatest hockey school in the world?”
TG: My dad has run a fantasy camp for the last 15 years, and what I try to accomplish with my schools is somewhat similar – I want the kids to have the best experience ever. We’ve had incredible support from some NHL players throughout the years coming to talk to the kids, and scouts, junior and college players, my dad and grandpa – to have all these people who are so influential in the world of hockey around the kids at our schools is amazing. You can just see it on the kids’ faces how happy they are to be there. We want the kids to leave saying it was the best week of their life and they had the most fun they’ve ever had. We aim to give them that NHL experience for the time they’re with us.
CR: You obviously have a passion for hockey. How different is it being involved off the ice rather than on it?
TG: I played until I was 16 and finished up at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for a year, and sort of retired after that. I got my business degree and realized I still loved the game of hockey, so thankfully I’m able to do what I love and run these schools.
CR: What do you project as the growth for Gretzky Hockey School?
TG: It’s hard to say right now. Things are going really well and we’re expanding at a comfortable pace, but we’re always looking at new opportunities. My dad and I had dinner with Alex Ovechkin when the Capitals were in town recently, and we talked about the possibility of doing a school in Russia sometime. It’s really exciting to look at the possibilities.
– Compiled by Greg Ball