Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Wayne Gretzky remembered his father, Walter, as a man with “a heart of gold” today at his funeral in Brantford, Ont.

Known as Canada’s hockey dad, Walter Gretzky died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease and other health issues in recent years.

Wayne Gretzky, the oldest of the family’s five children, delivered an emotional eulogy, saying of his late father, “We’d be a way better world if there was so many more people like my dad.”

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the funeral service limited to family but crowds gathered outside the church located in the city located about 100 kilometres west of Toronto.

A small memorial sprung up for Walter Gretzky outside the arena that bears his son’s name here yesterday.

Two hockey sticks — one full-sized, one miniature — and a Canadian flag adorned the sign marking off Walter Gretzky’s parking spot outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

Tributes poured in for the elder Gretzky after his death was announced by Wayne late Thursday on social media.

READ MORE: Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82