• Date Of Birth: October 8, 1938
  • Date Of Death: March 4, 2021
  • Spouse: Phyllis Hockin ​ ​(m. 1960; died 2005)
  • Occupation: Philanthropist
  • City: Brantford
  • State: Ontario

Walter Gretzky, CM, OOnt (October 8, 1938 – March 4, 2021) was a Canadian philanthropist who was best known as the father of Canadian ice hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.

An avid hockey player as a youth, and a keen analyst of the game, he built a backyard rink for his children, and coached Wayne continually from the age of three, devising creative exercises and drills, and teaching him profound insights into how to play successfully. Wayne credited his father as playing a key role in his success, citing advice such as “skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been”.

Gretzky contributed to minor hockey in Canada, and helped many local, provincial and national charities, for which he was honoured.

He was awarded the “Brantford Citizen of the Year award” in 1996. He was also an inductee to the Brantford Walk of Fame.

He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Ontario (O.Ont) in 2002. Gretzky was named a Member of the Order of Canada on December 28, 2007, “for his contributions to minor hockey in Canada and for his dedication to helping a myriad of local, provincial, and national charities”. On February 12, 2010, Gretzky carried the Olympic Torch during the Olympic Relay on the last day of the relay, hours before the opening ceremonies in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Wayne later lit the Olympic Flame.

On April 12, 2012, in his home town of Brantford, Ontario, the Grand Erie District School Board opened Walter Gretzky Elementary School. It is part of a dual-track Catholic-Public Green School with the Brant Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board’s St. Basil’s School.

Gretzky’s wife Phyllis died of lung cancer on December 19, 2005. Gretzky was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012 and died on March 4, 2021 after suffering a hip injury three weeks prior, at the age of 82. Gretzky’s funeral was held at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Brantford on March 6. He was buried at Farringdon Burial Ground in Brantford. – Available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License from Wikipedia.