Wayne Gretzky has decided not to play in the Winter Classic alumni game.
The outdoor event will be played on Dec. 31 between alumni of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather reached out to Gretzky but he politely declined. According to a report on ESPN.com, Gretzky was touched by the Rangers' invitation, but the NHL's all-time scoring leader ultimately decided not to participate. The report added that the Great One already has plans with his family for the holidays.
Gretzky played in the Heritage Classic outdoor alumni game in November, 2003 for the Edmonton Oilers against the Montreal Canadiens.
The 2012 Winter Classic game is scheduled for January 2 between the Rangers and Flyers.