The hockey world is mourning after the breaking news last night. One of hockey’s most influential persons has passed away.
Last night at the age of 82, the world learned that Walter Gretzky had passed away. Walter was referred to as the ultimate hockey father, who helped nurture and coach Wayne Gretzky in his early days of the sport. Wayne, known as The Great One, has spoken fondly of his father, saying that the reason he fell in love with the game was because of his dad.
Wayne confirmed the passing of his father with a social media post. “It’s with deep sadness that Janet and I share the news of the passing of my dad, said Wayne. “He bravely battled Parkinson’s and other health issues these last few years, but he never let it get him down.”
Once the NHL world learned about the passing of Walter, messages flooded social media. Ranging from condolences to the Gretzky family to funny stories and inspirational moments, hockey social media was mentioning Walter all night – and continues to do so.
His contributions to minor hockey continued after his children were playing professionally. 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.”
Walter had been involved in a number of charities over the years. Most notably, he worked with CNIB Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting Canadians who are blind or living with vision loss. On top of that, Gretzky was also prominent in the SCORE Program, which helps blind students learn computer skills.
Walter suffered a stroke in 1991. His autobiography and a 20005 made-for-TV movie to the story.
The start of Wayne’s devotion to hockey began when he was four. Walter turned the backyard of their home in Brantford into a rink, which Wayne called The Wally Coliseum.
Walter said he decided to make his own rink to avoid having to freeze standing outdoors at another rink – or sit in his car with the engine running for heat.
Walter had playing experience as well, although he said himself he wasn’t good enough to go pro. He played minor hockey in Paris, Ont. From there, he played Junior B for four years in Woodstock. Walter ended his playing career with senior hockey.
His legacy will live on thanks to his dedication to the sport and community. Walter was heavily involved in the minor hockey community and never allowed fame or fortune to deter him away from the person he truly was.
Walter lives on thanks to his numerous children, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The hockey world lost an incredible soul.
His impact in the community cannot be matched. Walter was loved by many in the hockey world and his work in minor hockey will continue to be seen for years to come.