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Wayne Gretzky Eulogizes His Father

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
October 27, 2022 3:04 am

Wayne Gretzky Eulogizes His Father

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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October 27, 2022 3:04 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, known as “Canada's hockey dad,” Walter Gretzky died at the age of 82. His death prompted an avalanche of tributes for a genuine, approachable, authentic person who nurtured the unsurpassed hockey talents of his son Wayne Gretzky on the family's famed backyard rink.

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That's ouramericanstories.com. They're some of our favorites. Known as Canada's hockey dad, Walter Gretzky died at the age of 82. His death prompted an avalanche of tributes for an approachable, authentic person who nurtured the unsurpassed hockey talents of his son, Wayne Gretzky, on the family's famed backyard rink in Brantford, Ontario.

Walter suffered a serious brain aneurysm, which robbed him of much of his memory in 2007. That includes many of Wayne's biggest moments. The 60-year-old NHL legend turned American citizen delivered remarks at the St. Mark's Anglican Church in Brantford shortly after laying his father to rest. Wayne stepped up to the podium in front of family, seated in the pews, and reminisced about his father's life.

Here's Wayne Gretzky. Thank you. And obviously, with the pandemic that we've had, it's been horrible for everyone throughout the world, in Canada, North America. I really wanted to tell everyone that my dad and my sister and our family were so conscious of it that COVID had nothing to do with the passing of my father. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, he sustained a bad hip injury.

And as he just said earlier, we thought weeks ago that the end was here. He has tremendous amount of faith, faith like I've never seen, but he had a love for life and he didn't want to leave. And we were 21 days sitting with him and just enjoying life and we got a chance and an opportunity to tell stories. Our grandchildren had never seen my dad after his brain aneurysm and we were telling them all, you're thankful that you didn't know him before his brain aneurysm because he was a lot tougher.

So it's been a tough time. I wanna thank everyone in the community who dropped off food, who dropped off sandwiches. They knew we were all there for 21 days. My sister was a champ.

She was beside him each and every minute of the day. The grandkids were wonderful. My dad and mom I know are so proud. So I thought I would tell a couple of stories. I didn't know, I spent the last four nights talking with my wife Janet, thinking what I was gonna say.

And like I usually do, I try to just kind of wing it and speak from my heart. So years ago, as everyone knows, my dad was such a huge sports fan and hockey guy. And we were playing in a hockey tournament outside of Toronto and my dad was so proud of the fact we're gonna play against better teams than little towns in this area. And on a Friday night, we're going to the tournament and my mom said to him, Walter, we're gonna have this baby this weekend.

And he said, it's okay, you can wait till we get back. So, Brant was born on the Saturday. We went to this tournament in Whitby, Ontario.

We played against good teams like Burlington, Oshawa, Hamilton, Toronto, Marley's, Nationals. We won the tournament, we got in the car and we weren't sure if the car could get us back from Oshawa to Brantford. So we finally got back. And the next day, mom came home with Brant. People were coming by, families, friends, sisters, congratulations on the baby. And every single person would say to my dad, Walter, I can't believe you missed the birth of your son. So our next door neighbor, Mary Rosetta came over. She was the last person to come over. She said, Walter, I can't believe you missed the birth of Brant. And when she walked out the door, he was so mad.

He stood up and he grabbed the trophy and he goes, yes, but we got the trophy. So as time goes on, he was so nice to all the grandchildren. Every grandchild loved him.

Close to each and every one of them. They understood how important he was, not only to our family, but to the culture of Canada. He came here, his family is an immigrant.

They came here because they wanted a better life. I don't think I've ever met a proud Canadian than my dad. And all my five children are American, born in the United States. And I always tell them, you should be as proud of the United States as your grandfather is of Canada, because that's how much he loves the country.

So I always tell my kids, you know, there's nothing better in life than family. So my dad would come every year to our summer house, my son, Ty, Trevor, Tristan. They had a hockey school and dad would come out.

He'd go to the rink, sign autographs like he always does. And we were playing golf one day and he was picking up golf balls. And I'm like, we have all these golf balls. What are all these golf balls for? And finally, the next day, Ty, Trevor, and Tristan, my friend Mike and Tom, they're in the fairway, they're in the rough, they're grabbing all these balls. And I finally grabbed them.

I said, you guys gotta stop grabbing golf balls. And I'm like, what do you mean? Your dad wants them for the kids. I said, I know he wants them for the kids, but I gotta sign them for the kids. So I take my dad to the airport at 5 a.m. Sure enough, we get to the airport and there's this two big bags. And my brother, Glenn, he runs out of the car. He's going to get a cup of coffee and my dad goes, you'll sign these for the kids, right? I'm like, oh my God.

So there it was signing for hours. But that's how he was. He was a remarkable man who loved life, loved family. We'd be a way better world if there were so many more people like my dad. Very special, we're all hurting.

This is a tough time. I'm so proud of the fact that so many people have reached out and given him such great tributes because he deserves it. He has a heart of gold and just wonderful, thank you. And you've been listening to Wayne Gretzky eulogizing his father. And by the way, though, he suffered tremendous memory loss due to that brain aneurysm. The father did remember many accounts of his own personal faith. And we have a couple of quotes from you. In our family, Walter once said, we're all Christians and we all help each other. It's due unto others as you would like done unto yourself. Walter also said in 2013 that one morning during his rehabilitation, he woke up and couldn't stop singing all of Amazing Grace. And that will be all the verses.

It drove my therapist nuts, he said. For my sister and three brothers, dad was our team captain, Wayne said. He guided, protected and led our family every day, every step of the way.

And by the way, we would love to hear your stories about your father, your mother. And we love eulogies. I mean, not that we love that there's a death, but there inevitably is for all of us. And the eulogy is a summary of a life written by people closest to the person that's departed. And so if you have a great eulogy in mind from a family member or someone else, our favorite here on this show, and I think there are two, Swen Nader, a player who had played for John Wooden, wrote a poem for Coach. Swen was a poet, a great ball player, but a poet.

And it was spectacular. And then my favorite, my personal favorite, was Jack Nicholas eulogizing Arnold Palmer and telling the world what made Arnold special. So if you have those stories, eulogies, and if you have a recording, I'll be still my heart. Send it our way.

Send it to OurAmericanStories.com. Wayne Gretzky eulogizes his father. And one can tell there was great love there. And when you have a father's love and a mother's love, you're privileged. And when you don't, well, enough said.

Wayne Gretzky's eulogy of his father here on Our American Stories. When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, sound shape to you.

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