Many Canadians are mourning the death of the ultimate hockey dad.
Walter Gretzky, who taught The Great One Wayne Gretzky, the game of hockey and brought fame to their hometown of Brantford, Ontario, has died at the age of 82.
Wayne Gretzky announced his father’s passing on social media late Thursday night, saying his dad bravely battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues over the past few years.
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) March 5, 2021
Wayne said the reason he fell in love with the game of hockey was because of his father, adding Walter taught him to be the best person he possibly could, both on and off the ice.
Once his son had reached the NHL, Walter became a famous name in his own right, appearing with Wayne in commercials for Tim Hortons and Coca-Cola.
Tributes have poured in from around the world, the Edmonton Oilers, perhaps the team Wayne is most recognized with, also went to Twitter Thursday night.
"Walter was truly everyone's hockey dad. He will be missed by all of us, but the memories created by his tremendous character & passion for our game will remain with us forever."#Oilers statements from Bob Nicholson & Kevin Lowe on Walter Gretzky. https://t.co/hU8SwYOAAI
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 5, 2021
Many Canadians knew Walter for more than just being the father of The Great One, many also saw him as a down to earth person, with a deep passion for his family.
“Sometimes, I swear to you, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming,” Walter Gretzky from his 2001 autobiography.