Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky will kick off the Rancho Mirage Speaker Series Monday evening at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage.

The series begins at 7 p.m. Monday with the four-time Stanley Cup champion in an interview with Hockey Night in Canada personality Christine Simpson.

Gretzky played for the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers during a 20-year career. He retired in 1999 with 61 NHL records.

He said he has fond memories of his time in Southern California.

“It was an exciting time in my life,” Gretzky said in a statement. “To see hockey grow in Southern California, and to have an AHL team in the desert is exciting. I’m looking forward to speaking with Christine about my career with the fans in Rancho Mirage.”

The city partnered with the Coachella Valley Firebirds to promote Gretzky’s interview, Mayor Richard Kite said in the statement. The first 1,000 people who purchased a series ticket gained free entrance to the Coachella Valley Firebirds home game against the San Diego Gulls Sunday, where Gretzky dropped the ceremonial puck.

For the first time in the event’s history, the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa partnered with the city to host the speaker series in its venue, city and casino officials said.

“As we are located in Rancho Mirage, we have always respected the concept of the series and the impact the events could have on the community with its powerful speakers,” senior director of entertainment at Agua Caliente Casinos Monica Reeves said in a statemetn. “We believe The Show will provide an exceptional venue for the types of conversations and education that will stem from this next series’ unique sports theme.”

For two decades, the speaker series featured big names in entertainment, politics and journalism, before it reinvented itself with sports figures in 2020. The reinvented series has featured pioneering race car driver Danica Patrick and football legend Joe Montana.

The series will continue Feb. 21 — nine days after the Super Bowl — with Emmitt Smith, the former Dallas Cowboys star and Pro Football Hall of Famer who still holds the NFL career rushing record of 18,355 yards, according to city and casino officials. Boxing legend and six-time world champion Sugar Ray Leonard will close out the series on March 21.

Sibley Scoles, host of “Raiders: Talk of the Nation,” will moderate both interviews.

Tickets for the series ranging from $150 to $475 can be found at rmspeakerseries.com.

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