Walter Gretzky, father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, and himself one of the most beloved figures in the sport, has died at the age of 82.

“It’s with deep sadness that Janet and I share the news of the passing of my Dad,” a statement tweeted out Thursday via Wayne Gretzky’s account read. “He bravely battled Parkinson’s and other health issues these last few years, but he never let it get him down.

“…He was truly the Great One and the proudest Canadian we know.”

Gretzky’s impact on the sport extended far beyond his son Wayne and the legacy the latter forged on the ice, though The Great One often credited his father for helping him become an all-time talent. The elder Gretzky also coached at various levels, wrote two books about the game, and supported numerous charities through the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament and a number of other programs.

He was named to the Order of Canada in 2007 for his contributions to Canadian hockey and his philanthropic work, four years after receiving the Order of Ontario for his efforts.

In 2010, Gretzky cemented his place in Canadian history by participating in the Olympic Relay during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, carrying the Olympic Torch on the relay’s final day before his son eventually lit the Olympic Flame.

More to come.

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