Walter Gretzky has died at the age of 82.
Wayne’s father, Walter was seen by many as the ultimate Canadian hockey dad who taught and nurtured the National Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer.
The news was confirmed by Wayne on Twitter.
Walter had battled Parkinson’s and other health issues over the last few years.
He was named to the Order of Canada in 2007.
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) March 5, 2021
Below is the full statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Walter’s passing:
“Although he never skated a shift in the National Hockey League, Walter Gretzky’s influence on our League and our game was profound. He embodied all that is great about being a hockey parent. Teaching the game to his children on the famed backyard rink he built in his beloved hometown of Brantford, Ontario, Walter instilled in them not only an uncommon understanding of hockey’s essence, but a love and respect for the game that has become synonymous with the name Gretzky, all while ensuring that the game was fun to play.
“Walter revelled in the incomparable exploits of his son Wayne, who never failed to credit his father as his first and most important coach. And Players, Coaches and media members routinely sought Walter’s insight throughout Wayne’s legendary career. A gentle man and a gentleman, Walter was unfailingly happy to share a story or thought.
“Walter’s passion for the game and for teaching it to young players transcended place, status and skill level. During the two decades since Wayne retired, Walter could always be found at a rink, sharing the game with players and fans at all levels. Quietly and humbly, Walter dedicated so much of his time to countless charities with little fanfare but with a deep commitment to improving the lives of so many – particularly children.
“We all will miss Walter and his infectious smile. On behalf of the entire National Hockey League, I extend my deepest sympathies to Wayne and the entire Gretzky family.”
*** With files from Bradley Jones ***