Ebene Magazine – Sharks’ Logan Couture explains how he met Walter Gretzky

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As a kid growing up in southern Ontario, Canada, the San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture was one of the myriad of hockey-playing kids who were allowed to spend time with Wayne Gretzky’s father, Walter Gretzky.

Couture said his parents held three-versus-three hockey tournaments at the Wayne Gretzky Center in Brantford, Ontario that summer, and Couture would help out by working the front desk or as a timekeeper. Walter Gretzky, who lived in Brantford after raising his family there, often stopped by to give souvenirs to young players.

« He came over and met with kids, with teams, just walked up to kids and gave them a signed Wayne card or memorabilia, and he did that for me, » said Couture. “I think I have a Gretzky jersey or cards or something at home that I got from him.

« So it’s hard for you to find smaller hockey kids in this area, whether it’s near London, Brantford or Toronto, who haven’t met Walter, so definitely a special, special person. »

Walter Gretzky died on Thursday at the age of 82. Wayne Gretzky shared the news on Twitter, adding that his father is battling Parkinson’s disease and other health issues.
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« For my sister and my three brothers, Dad was our team captain – he led, protected and guided our family every day and every step of the way, » wrote Gretzky.

In a statement, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Walter Gretzky’s influence on our league and our game is profound.
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« He embodied everything that is great about being a hockey parent, » said Bettman. “Walter taught his children how to play on the famous backyard ice rink he built in his beloved hometown of Brantford, Ontario, and gave them an unusual understanding of not only the essence of hockey, but also a love and respect for the game that has become synonymous with name Gretzky while making the game fun.  »
A man visits a statue of Walter Gretzky, his wife Phyllis and his son Wayne in front of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Center in Brantford, Ont., Friday March 5, 2021. Walter Gretzky has died. He was 82 years old. Wayne Gretzky said in a statement on Thursday evening March 4, 2021 that his father had been battling Parkinson’s disease and other health problems for the past few years. (Cole Burston / The Canadian Press via AP)

According to Couture, Walter Gretzky’s influence on sport was underestimated in the region where he grew up.
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« He was always around arenas, always all over the Ontario area, » said Couture. ‘

“But very down to earth, humble, loved talking about the hockey game. I think that was his real love, he went to the ice rink, watched kids play and tried to build love for hockey with other kids. He was a special person. « 

Ref: https://www.mercurynews.com

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