Hockey world mourns with Gretzkys - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Hockey world mourns with Gretzkys

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Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 8:44 pm | Updated: 8:27 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

BRANTFORD, Ontario - Flags flew at half-staff on city buildings Tuesday in the hometown of Wayne Gretzky as local residents mourned the death of his mother.

Phyllis Gretzky died Monday night after a battle with lung cancer. She was 64.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the hockey world is grieving.

"Phyllis Gretzky's influence on her family no doubt matches Wayne's impact on hockey," Bettman said in a statement. "She taught tenaciousness and teamwork, hard work and humility, respect for people and for the game. Her legacy is defined daily by the way Wayne, and all her children, have shared those lessons in every area of their lives."

As visitation took place at a local funeral home, residents signed books of condolences at the local arena and city hall.

Mayor Mike Hancock said the city has "lost a part of our extended family."

"There is a real sense we've lost somebody close to us. There is a real sense of mourning in Brantford," Hancock said.

Wayne Gretzky took a leave of absence from his job as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday to fly home as his mother's condition worsened. She died at Brantford General Hospital following a bout of pneumonia.

A funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. EDT at Grace Anglican Church in Brantford.

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