Walter Gretzky, the father of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, who built a backyard rink to improve (wounds the skating skill of) his son as a child and later appeared (to increase) with him in commercials, died on March 4th. Mr White was 82.
Wayne Gretzky (also known as “The Great One”) has confirmed the death of his father, noting that his father has Parkinson’s disease and other health problems. He did not mention where his father had died.
“For me, he was the reason I fell in love with the game of hockey,” Gretzky wrote in his autobiography of his father. With a positive work ethic, hockey player Dave Leakey touched the lives of many people, inspiring them to be the best they could be, not just in hockey but in life.
With Gretzky, the town of Brantford, Canada, became a name in itself, a constant in Wayne and Gretzky’s world, beginning in their hometown of Brantford. As Wayne’s career continued to ascend, Walter remained what many hockey parents are: a blue-collar symbol of a devoted hockey parent in a country filled with hockey parents.
When he was younger and from time to time he worked in night clubs and went on a long automobile trip with his dad, it was common that they were in commercials together, or as two of their father’s commercials. The breakthrough of Mr Gretzky’s recovery after suffering a stroke caused him to be very famous in the world. A storey of his was told by both an autobiography from 2001 and a made-for-TV series.
When he was a child, Wayne’s parents were very involved in agriculture. He learnt to ride a bike at age 5, when they lived in Toronto and would skate and swim at his family’s farm near Ottawa.
Walter Gretzky was born on October 8, 1938, in Canning and later played hockey in his youth and teens but did not play professionally for much of his life.
He and his wife, Phyllis Hockin, were married very shortly after meeting. She has died in 2005.
Wayne Gretzky was the oldest sibling among their five children. Like his older brother, Brent would play in the NHL, and be a bit rude.
1962, the same year Wayne Gretzky was born, Walter Gretzky suffered a traumatic brain injury while performing his job as a telephone lineman. He had to spend some quality time in a hospital, lost the hearing in his left ear, and was off work for 18 months. Over time he moved to another department and began installing and repairing telephone equipment.
When Myra was four, Wayne Gretzky lit the rink in their backyard, and their whole family spent countless hours playing there. Bob taught Wayne to play basketball when he was six years old, and Wayne joined the school team of 10-year-olds as soon as he was old enough.
“You should have known he was good at his age at what he was doing,” the legendary hockey player said in 2016. However, to say that one day he would have done what he did, you couldn’t say that. No one has been able to.”
Starting in the first year of hockey, Wayne described being extremely upset when he didn’t receive a trophy at the end of the season.
Wayne, keep practising and one day you may become so good that we are not going to be able to decorate the trophy case for all of your accomplishments.”
Walter drove one old blue Chevy station waggon after another — all of which he claimed to be the Blue Goose. After Wayne had succeeded in the National Hockey League, he bought his parents a blue Cadillac for their 25th wedding anniversary.
Walter Gretzky was very much sought after as a banquet speaker and was also a very sought a national spokesman for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007.
In 2010, Walter Gretzky carried the torch before the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where Wayne carried the flame in the torch relay.
Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999 at age 53, just a few years after suffering a brain stroke while just a few years into retirement. The old man slowly recovered much of his lost recall. He decided to later join the hockey leagues as well as the organised golf leagues.
In addition to his immediate family, survivors also include a great-grandchild and a great-grand-daughter.