Brooke Taylor
CTVNewsca writer

@ Newsmanbrooke

Wayne Gretzky emotionally said goodbye to his father Walter at a memorial service in Brantford, Ont Saturday

The memorial was in St. Mark’s Anglican Church, where mourners pay tribute to Walter Gretzky and a sign in front of the church read: “We will miss you, Wally”

Walter died Thursday after a hip injury three weeks ago, Wayne said at the funeral he was 82 years old

Walter fans lined the street in front of the church to pay their respects.In the church, Wayne and Rev Tim Dobbin shared stories while Walter’s grandchildren read the scriptures

Wayne said his father sustained a hip injury three weeks earlier and Walter didn’t expect it to last as long as he did

“He had a love of life and didn’t want to leave,” he added. “We sat with him for 21 days and just enjoyed life”

He remembered his father’s love of sports so much that he left his heavily pregnant wife to take Wayne to a hockey tournament and told her the baby could “wait until we get back”

Brent Gretzky was born that Saturday before the tournament was over. When Wayne was warned by a neighbor that he had missed the birth of his son, he remembered his father holding up the tournament trophy and saying, “Yeah, but we did got the trophy ”

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a prouder Canadian than my father,” he said in a heartfelt eulogy

“We would be a much better world if there were so many more people like my father,” he added

“I’m so proud of the fact that so many people have reached out to him and given him such great honors that he deserves it. He has a heart of gold and is just wonderful,” Wayne finished before he paused, overwhelmed with emotion

The father of the great became a household name alongside his son, a symbol of the commitment and devotion of parents across the country who accompany their children through sport at a professional level

Condolences were expressed on Friday after Wayne Gretzky confirmed his father’s death in a social media post

“Dad was our team captain – he led, protected, and guided our family every day,” he said in a statement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered condolences on Friday, saying, “Walter Gretzky has cared deeply for his family and community – his kindness has been undeniable, his passion has been evident and his impact has been immense. My thoughts are with Wayne and the entire family Gretzky and all who mourn the loss of Canada’s hockey father ”

Ice hockey fans went to Twitter to share memories of Walter and to prove that his loss was being felt across the country and in the entire sport of hockey. He signed their jersey, he made them laugh, he gave them a smile, they felt he cared

A staple and a celebrity at the Toronto Maple Leafs home games, Walter would often wave at anyone who said hello, many said he was never too busy to chat and always had a smile on his face on the rink. p>

Walter was there every step of the way as Wayne dominated the sport and led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cups in addition to countless other awards in the 1980s

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman paid tribute to Walter’s love of the sport and how he “embodied all that is great about being a hockey parent

“Walter not only gave (his children) an unusual understanding of the essence of hockey, but also the love and respect for the game, which has become synonymous with the name Gretzky, while at the same time making the game fun “said Bettman in a statement

Hockey Hall of Fame legend Wayne Gretzky (right) watches his father Walter Gretzky’s coffin as it is carried out of church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont March 2021 Walter Gretzky, also known as Canada’s hockey father, was 82 years old THE CANADIAN PRESS / Nathan Denette

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Funeral of Walter Gretzky

World news – CA – ‘Canada’s hockey father’: Funeral of Walter Gretzky in Brantford, Ont