Walter Gretzky, News (Chedoke Minor Hockey)

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Walter Gretzky
Submitted By admin on Saturday, March 6, 2021
Walter Gretzky died Thursday March 4 at the age of 82 after a nine-year battle with Parkinson's disease. 

Gretzky raised and coached his son, Wayne, considered by many to be the greatest NHL player of all time. 

"Everything I am is because of him. It's as simple as that," Wayne said in a 1996 CBC interview.

But it was the elder Gretzky's dedication to minor hockey and charities and his friendly demeanour for which he became so well-known to many Canadians.  Canada's most beloved hockey dad left a legacy beyond the rink.


Walter's contributions to minor hockey began with his first son but his dedication to the growth of young players continued long after Wayne found success. Two of Walter's  younger sons, Keith and Brent, were also drafted by NHL teams, although only the latter saw action, playing with Tampa Bay. 

Walter coached locally in Brantford with minor league teams for years and lent his time to minor tournaments on top of his charitable endeavours. 

His wide-ranging involvement in charities earned him one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on a Canadian when he was named to the Order of Canada on Dec. 28, 2007. He teamed up with Wayne to organize fundraising for local, provincial and national charities. 

Among their many contributions, the two worked together to raise money for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind through a golf tournament that attracted celebrities and NHL players for years and helped raise more than $1 million.

The Gretzky family home in Brantford had perhaps the most-famous backyard hockey rink. There, Walter helped coach and develop Wayne's skills starting at the age of three.

Wayne credited his father's creative drills and approach to coaching for helping him develop into the player who would become the NHL's all-time leading scorer.

Walter is survived by his five children: Wayne, Kim, Keith, Glen and Brent, as well as several grandchildren. 
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