Wayne Gretzky to host Nationwide event in 2008

BRANTFORD, Ontario -- On the heels of entertainers Justin Timberlake and George Lopez being named hosts of their own PGA Tour events, the Nationwide Tour announced on Monday that a new tournament will include the name of its own great one.

Check that. The Great One.

Named for the NHL's all-time leading scorer, the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic will be held June 26-29 at The Georgian Bay Club and the Raven Golf Club at Lora Bay, located on the shores of Georgian Bay, northwest of Toronto.

"I have always had tremendous respect for the Nationwide Tour and the platform it provides for aspiring golfers," said Gretzky, who has competed in multiple celebrity events on both the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour. "I am thrilled to host an event that will recognize the hard work and dedication these players put in week after week on tour."

The tournament will feature a unique format, with 160 Nationwide Tour players paired with 160 celebrities/amateurs for a minimum of two days. One professional will be paired with one celebrity or amateur on Thursday and Friday, June 26 and 27, and the teams alternating between The Georgian Bay Club and Lora Bay courses both days. Ten pro/amateur teams will compete on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29 for the Pro-Celebrity/Amateur title at The Georgian Bay Club.

After 20 NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, Gretzky is currently a managing partner and head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. The Wayne Gretzky Foundation, founded by Gretzky in 2002, will be the primary beneficiary of the event.