Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MTS Centre to host Gretzky

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Wayne Gretzky's popularity hasn't waned over time.

MARK J. TERRILL / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Wayne Gretzky's popularity hasn't waned over time.

Wayne Gretzky can still put butts in hockey arena seats 15 years after he played his last professional game.

The hockey legend is coming to town for a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday, but demand for tickets made the original venue -- the Fairmont Hotel -- too small, so it has been moved to the MTS Centre.

Where else?

The chamber puts on about 125 events per year, but this is the first time it's moved one into the city's biggest indoor venue, said Alana Odebard, its director of communications.

"Once we heard it was available, it seemed an obvious place to go, considering we're hosting the Great One. It's about accommodating as many (chamber) members as we can. We're definitely going to be making full use of the space to play up the hockey theme," he said.

The event is also being put on by TD Bank, where Gretzky has been a "brand ambassador" for the last four years.

"He speaks at TD client and customer events across North America on his life story, motivational stories, the importance of leadership and, of course, his experiences around the great game of hockey," said TD spokesman Jeff Meerman.

The luncheon will be held on the event level where the ice normally is. Unlike virtually every other chamber event, the keynote speaker won't be making a speech. Instead, Gretzky will be interviewed by former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, who is also deputy chairman of the TD Bank Group. McKenna will also act as the moderator and take questions from the audience.

The event originally sold out in a matter of hours, but the change in venue means a small number of seats are now available. The price? Ninety-nine dollars, of course.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2014 B7

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