Will Gretzky be at training camp?

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

PHOENIX -- On the other side of this sweltering city, the Phoenix Coyotes will open training camp this morning.

Whether Wayne Gretzky, the team's current coach and the icon once counted on to sell the sport in the desert, will be there is a mystery.

A team official attending the proceedings admitted he had no clue whether the Great One will be at Jobing.com Arena in suburban Glendale this morning for medicals. Another said he's still part of the team and will be there for camp.

Gretzky's status became a live issue during yesterday's court proceedings when Judge Redfield T. Baum asked openly whether Gretzky was still the coach.

The NHL said it's in "delicate negotiations" with Gretzky for a new contract, likely at a dramatically reduced rate from the reported $8 million US he has been making under bankrupt owner Jerry Moyes.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he has been in contact with Gretzky and hopes the Canadian icon will return to the club, in which he has held an ownership position.

"Wayne's the best," Bettman said outside the court. "I want what's best for Wayne."

Gretzky has been deliberately quiet throughout the proceedings but may have to drop that silence once camp opens. The team is to play its first pre-season game on Tuesday, the same day Baum yesterday requested both the NHL and Jim Balsillie to submit the final details of their revised bids.


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