Walter Gretzky Biography – Walter Gretzky Wiki
Walter Gretzky is the father of NHL star Wayne Gretzky. He had aspirations of playing professionally in the National Hockey League. He became known as a prolific goal scorer as a teenager, playing with the Junior B Woodstock Warriors. But his size held him back from pursuing a professional hockey career. At five-foot-nine and weighing 140 pounds, Gretzky was already considered small. He became ill with chicken pox before his tryout with the Junior A Toronto Marlies and was judged to be too small to advance beyond the junior level after losing weight from his illness, so he embarked on a more traditional career path.
He married his wife, Phyllis Hockin, in 1960 and moved to nearby Brantford, where he worked as a telephone cable repairman. Wayne was born on Jan. 26, 1961, the first of the couple’s five children. The Gretzkys moved to a home that would accommodate their growing family and also allow for a 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’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.
Other initiatives included the Wayne and Walter Gretzky Scholarship Foundation, which helps students with vision loss pursue post-secondary education. He channelled his energy completely into coaching and charity after retiring in 1991.
Walter Gretzky Age
He was born on October 8, 1938, in Canning, Ontario, Canada to Belarusian immigrants. He died on March 4, 2021, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He was 82 years old.
Walter Gretzky Wife
Was Walter Gretzky married? He was married to Phyllis Hockin from 1960 until her death in 2005. Walter Gretzky’s wife Phyllis died of lung cancer on December 19, 2005.
Walter Gretzky Children
He had 5 children, Wayne Gretzky, Brent Gretzky, Kim Gretzky, Glen Gretzky, and Keith Gretzky.
Walter Gretzky Death
He passed away on March 4, 2021, at age 82. His son, Wayne Gretzky, announced the news in a statement on Twitter: “It’s with deep sadness that Janet and I share the news of the passing of my Dad. He bravely battled Parkinson’s and other health issues these last few years, but he never let it get him down.
“For my sister and my 3 brothers, Dad was our team captain – he guided, protected and led our family every day, every step of the way.
“For me, he was the reason I fell in love with the game of hockey. He inspired me to be the best I could be not just in the game of hockey, but in life.
“We will miss him so much, but know that he’s back with our Mom and that brings me and my family peace. He truly was the Great One and the proudest Canadian we know. We love you Dad.”
Walter Gretzky Cause of Death
He died after a nine-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. In 1991, he suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm that destroyed his short-term memory. He was diagnosed in 2012 with the degenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease when tremors in his left hand prompted a doctor’s visit.
Walter Gretzky Net Worth
Walter Gretzky’s net worth is unclear. His son, Wayne Gretzky, has an estimated net worth of $250 million.