Even though he never spent a minute skating on NHL ice, he left a lasting memory with the entire NHL and had star status.
Walter Gretzky, Wayne’s father, passed away. He was 82 years young.
Wayne Gretzky, as we all know, delivered on the ice. However, at his father’s funeral, he delivered another way in the form of an emotional tribute to his late father.
Walter played a bigger part in Wayne’s career than people realize. Wayne did not want to sign a big deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Walter insisted, and Wayne signed. Wayne had agreed to a deal that would send him to the Detroit Red Wings from Edmonton. Walter spoke to Wayne and said Los Angeles was a better opportunity. Wayne eventually agreed, and the biggest deal in NHL history was made.
That deal alone set the stage for NHL to expand and enhance their profit margin. Teams from San Jose, Anaheim, Ottawa, and Tampa Bay would begin playing in the NHL that would not have been imagined before if it were not talking to Wayne and telling him about the opportunity for more growth in Los Angeles who knows if those moves would have been possible.
Walter, known as hockey’s greatest dad, always made the time for everyone, even when Wayne couldn’t.
He was not about the small talk as he would generally be invested in how you were and how your family was doing. He always made time for pictures, autographs, and everyone who wanted to talk about Wayne.
Walter was hockey. Walter was the city of Brantford. Walter was a man of the people. Walter was Wayne Gretzky.
Stick taps to hockey icon Walter Gretzky; you will be greatly missed.
Featured Image: Douglas Quan/The Star