Calls Walter Gretzky ‘God’s own representative on Earth’
by Tamara Botting
“He’s God’s own representative on Earth, with all of his charity work,” Smith said on Sunday afternoon when he came to the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament.
When Smith found out about the tournament in 2009, he decided that he wanted to take part, even though it had been “12 to 15 years since the last time I’d played.”
He put the word out to his fans and got enough response to form four teams. He founded View Askew Street Hockey League and came out to play. It was more taxing than he expected; the night after his first day back to the sport, “I threw up.”
That didn’t stop Smith, though; the next year, he reached out to as many people as he could to beef up attendance numbers, with his eyes on the prize of an official Guinness World Record for the largest street hockey tournament.
“That record belonged to Walter. His kid had won enough awards,” Smith said.
Getting the world record is an accomplishment Smith is still very proud of.
“I still have (the certificate) in my house on the wall,” he said.
Before this year, Smith hadn’t been able to come out to the tournament since 2010. His league of fans carries on enthusiastically, though, under the guidance of commissioner Darryl Clarke and with Smith’s encouragement.
“Whatever’s close to Walter’s heart is close to mine,” Smith said, adding his praise for Clarke’s ongoing dedication.
“It’s beautiful, when you can start something and others pick it up and finish it for you,” he said.
Smith was happy for a chance to return to Brantford, saying, “It’s such a beautiful town. Legends were born here. It’s a town mired in Canadian history.”
Via Brant News