It’s news that hit hard for many, not just for the hockey community; Walter Gretzky, father of The Great One Wayne Gretzky, passed away at the age of 82.

Wayne confirmed the news through a social media post on Thursday night.

“It’s with deep sadness that Janet and I share the news of the passing of my Dad,” No. 99 wrote in his post.

“For me, he was the reason I fell in love with the game of hockey. He inspired me to be the best I could be not just in the game of hockey, but in life.”

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Since news of his death, condolences have been pouring in for the entire Gretzky family and those who knew and loved him.

“The fabric of our franchise has been woven by some of the most influential players, coaches and executives the game has known and included in that too, are the loved ones that make our team a family. From his development and constant influence on one of the greatest players our game has known, to the tremendous impact he had on Canada’s Gold Medal-winning team in 2002, Walter was truly everyone’s hockey dad,” Edmonton Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson wrote in a statement.

“He will be missed by all of us, but the memories created by his tremendous character and passion for our game will remain with us forever.”

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Walter Gretzky, father of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, dies at 82

Kevin Lowe, Oilers alumni and former teammate of Wayne, said anyone who had the pleasure of spending time with Walter was “undoubtedly affected by his positive approach to life, family and hockey.

“As we grow older, the passing of those dear to us whether they be teammates, siblings, coaches or parents reminds us to live our lives in a way that honours their legacy while holding them close in our hearts when they are no longer with us,” Lowe said in a statement.

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Walter embodied all that is great about being a hockey parent.

“Although he never skated a shift in the National Hockey League, Walter Gretzky’s influence on our league and our game was profound,” he said in a statement.

“Teaching the game to his children on the famed backyard rink he built in his beloved hometown of Brantford, Ontario, Walter instilled in them not only an uncommon understanding of hockey’s essence, but a love and respect for the game that has become synonymous with the name Gretzky, all while ensuring that the game was fun to play.”

The EE Football Team also shared kind words, saying Edmonton lost “an example of what it is to be a father.”

“Walter’s impact on the city will not be forgotten.”

Condolences and warm messages also came pouring in on social media.

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