Gretzky to Perform Ceremonial Face-off
The Brooklin Redmen are honoured to announce that Walter Gretzky will be performing the ceremonial face-off prior to the June 13 home game against the Cobourg Kodiaks.
Walter Gretzky, father of "The Great One", is an ordinary man who, from humble beginnings and against the odds of a devastating illness leads an extraordinary life. It is Walter’s personal journey and constant engagement in the community that draws the rest of Canada to sports best known father!
To many people, Walter Gretzky is the ultimate dad, and the first inspired coach to a talented young boy. Walter's major insight into hockey, that a player should "go where the puck is going"- guided Wayne's brilliant style. Few people know that Walter served as a coach on the Brantford PUC Transport Lacrosse team when Wayne was growing up.
It's safe to say that no other famous hockey player's father is held in such high esteem, and Walter Gretzky has carved out this singular niche in his own right. Gretzky grew up on a small family farm, married Phyllis, and raised four boys and a girl in a modest home. He worked for Bell Canada for 34 years.
In 1991, Walter suffered a brain aneurysm that came close to killing him. Through his own grit and determination, and with the help of dedicated therapists, doctors, family and friends, he battled back from the many cognitive difficulties and nearly a decade of lost memories, including his recollection of the death of his mother and almost all of Wayne's NHL triumphs of the eighties.
Walter won the Brantford Citizen of the Year award in 1996. In 2002, Gretzky was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from McMaster University. In 2006 Walter received an honorary degree from Nipissing Brantford, and in 2007 received the Order of Canada in recognition of his commitment to aiding others, especially youth.
The movie Waking Up Walter: The Walter Gretzky Story - based on his best-selling book, On Family, Hockey and Healing made its premier on CBC-TV in 2005. About the movie, Walter Gretzky said, "I'm stunned. My name's Walter Gretzky, not Wayne Gretzky."
Mr. Gretzky served as official spokesperson for Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has been very active in a number of charities as well.