Walter Gretzky, the father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, died yesterday at the age of 82.
Wayne posted on social media a tribute to his father, who unfortunately lost a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s yesterday.
Wayne Gretzky’s Tribute to Father
The NHL legend wrote a note for his father announcing his death. He also commented on what he meant to Wayne and his family growing up.
“It’s with deep sadness that Janet and I share the news of the passing of my Dad,” writes Wayne Gretzky, the oldest of five children. “He bravely battled Parkinson’s and other health issues these last few years, but he never let it get him down.”
“For my sister and my three brothers, Dad was our team captain- he guided, protected, and let our family every day, every step of the way.”
“For me, he was the reason I fell in love with the game of hockey. He inspired me to be the best I could be not just in the game of hockey, but in life.”
“We will miss him so much, but know that he’s back with our Mom, and that brings me and my family peace.”
Walter’s wife and Wayne’s mother, Phyllis, died in 2005 from lung cancer.
Gretzky concludes the note, saluting the family’s home country of Canada. “He truly was the Great One and the proudest Canadian we know. We love you, Dad.”
Wayne accompanied the emotional note with a photo of Walter dancing at a wedding with a woman.
Remembering Walter Gretzky
Many fans came to his aid and commented on their support for 60-year-old Wayne Gretzky.
One said, “Like yourself, a true Canadian icon. Prayers to you and your family.”
Others commented on Walter’s gracious character, saying, “Walter was a beautiful man I was lucky enough to meet a few times. My thoughts are with your family!” Another fan and friend of Walter responded to the message, saying, “Amazing personality and first-class person with an infectious smile from ear to ear…sorry for your loss.”
According to ESPN, Walter was born in Ontario, Canada. His parents were immigrants from Belarus.
In addition, Walter Gretzky was “named to the Order of Canada in 2007 ‘for his contributions to minor hockey in Canada and for his dedication to helping a myriad of local, provincial and national charities.'”
Furthermore, three of Walter’s sons became hockey players, including Wayne, who is considered to be one of the greatest of all time. His son credited his success to Walter, who laid the foundation for his dream when built an ice rink in the family’s backyard.
The attentive father also worked with his children on different drills to sharpen their skills and their sense of anticipation.
“People are always telling me, ‘You must have eyes in the back of your head,'” wrote Wayne Gretzky. “Baloney. I’ve just learned to guess what’s going to happen next. It’s anticipation. It’s not God-given, It’s Wally-given.”
From our Outsider family to the Gretzky’s, we are very sorry for your loss, and you are in our thoughts.