As a child rising up in southern Ontario in Canada, San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture figures he was once amongst numerous quantity of hockey-playing children who were given to spend time and be round Walter Gretzky, Wayne Gretzky’s father.
Couture mentioned his folks used to run three-on-three hockey tournaments on the Wayne Gretzky Centre in Brantford, Ontario in the summertime, and Couture would lend a hand out via running on the entrance table or as a timekeeper. Walter Gretzky, who nonetheless lived in Brantford after he raised his circle of relatives there, would come round steadily handy younger avid gamers souvenirs.
“He would pop in and he would meet with children, with groups, simply more or less stroll as much as children and provides them a signed Wayne card or memorabilia, and he did that for me,” Couture mentioned. “I believe I’ve a Gretzky jersey at house or playing cards, or one thing like that that I were given from him.
“So that you’d be hard-pressed to search out minor hockey children in that house, whether or not it’s round London, Brantford or Toronto that hadn’t met Walter, so indisputably a different, particular particular person.”
Walter Gretzky kicked the bucket Thursday on the age of 82. Wayne Gretzky shared the inside track on Twitter, including that his father was once combating Parkinson’s illness and different well being problems.
“For my sister and my 3 brothers, Dad was once our group captain — he guided, safe and led our circle of relatives on a daily basis, each and every step of the way in which,” Gretzky wrote.
In a commentary, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned Walter Gretzky’s affect ”on our League and our sport was once profound.
“He embodied all this is nice about being a hockey father or mother,” Bettman mentioned. “Instructing the sport to his youngsters at the famed yard rink he inbuilt his cherished place of origin of Brantford, Ontario, Walter instilled in them now not simplest an unusual working out of hockey’s essence, however a love and admire for the sport that has turn out to be synonymous with the identify Gretzky, all whilst making sure that the sport was once a laugh to play.”
Couture mentioned Walter Gretzky’s affect and affect at the game across the area the place he grew up was once underappreciated.
“He was once all the time round arenas, all the time, all over that house of Ontario,” Couture mentioned “He all the time had a Canada jacket on or one thing with Gretzky on it, so that you’d more or less assume, ‘Yeah he’s associated with (Wayne).’
“However very all the way down to earth, humble, liked to discuss the sport of hockey. I believe that was once his real love, was once going to the rink, gazing children play and seeking to construct the affection of hockey with different children. He was once a different particular person.”