SUN Hockey Pool

Agent recalls Phyllis as an upbeat person

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

When Mike Barnett recalls some of the big decisions in the Great One's hockey career, he'll think of sitting at Phyllis Gretzky's modest kitchen table in Brantford.

"She was part of such a typical Canadian family with that table as the centre of communication," said Barnett, who visited their home countless times through 25 years as Wayne's agent and later general manager of his Phoenix Coyotes. "Wayne and I would start doing some work and I never had to ask for coffee, she'd only want to know if I wanted cream.

"She was such an upbeat person and as the hours went by, she turned to genuine laughter, telling lots of stories with Walter (Gretzky's Dad) always the brunt of them.

"If you don't know who really ran the show in that family, think about what happened to that famous backyard rink of Walter's.

"As soon as the last nester of the five kids left, Phyllis had that turned into a swimming pool and no one thought twice about trying to change her mind.

"Despite his heroic image and reputation, Wayne is really no different than anyone else who experiences a loss of this magnitude."

Barnett has been in touch with Wayne since Phyllis passed away late Monday night at age 64 after a year-long battle with lung cancer.

"Wayne is probably going through myriad emotions right now, the sadness of losing a parent, someone very dear to him and his own children, but at the same time knowing the suffering and pain that she has been enduring is now at a peaceful end."

You are invited to sign Phyllis Gretzky's Book of Condolence at ObituariesToday.com.


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