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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman heaps praise on late Walter Gretzky

Bettman's praise for Walter

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

Bettman released a statement Friday following the announcement of the death of Wayne Gretzky's father late Thursday night.

Walter Gretzky was 82.

Bettman says Walter's influence on the league and the game was "profound."

"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," Bettman said.

Bettman praised Walter for staying connected to the game after Wayne retired as a player.

“Walter’s passion for the game and for teaching it to young players transcended place, status and skill level," he said.

"During the two decades since Wayne retired, Walter could always be found at a rink, sharing the game with players and fans at all levels. Quietly and humbly, Walter dedicated so much of his time to countless charities with little fanfare but with a deep commitment to improving the lives of so many — particularly children."



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