It was worth close to US$8 million, according to one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Gretzky was owed money from former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes. He filed for bankruptcy in 2009, leading to the NHL's ownership of the team until it was sold to a group led by Canadian businessmen this past summer.
Gretzky had served as coach and head of hockey operations before the Coyotes went bankrupt.
He made an appearance on the red carpet at last month's Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the insistence of Chris Chelios. Since then, he was seen at a Washington Capitals game sitting with owner Ted Leonsis.
But Gretzky hadn't been officially involved with the NHL since the Coyotes situation.
"I'm always close to the game," Gretzky said last month at the Hall of Fame. "The game's always been good to me. The National Hockey League commissioner's office, they have always treated me with a great deal of respect and always been good to me. I've chosen at this point in time to take a step back and be a fan like everyone else and watch."