NHL, Wayne Gretzky mourn loss of avid hockey fan Alan Thicke

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 14, 2016 at 5:58 PM
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The NHL mourned the loss of huge hockey fan Alan Thicke, the beloved TV actor best known for his role as a dad on the sitcom "Growing Pains."

Thicke died Tuesday at age 69 after suffering a heart attack. According to reports, he collapsed while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thicke will be greatly missed.

"In addition to being a passionate fan, Alan was an energetic participant in many of our events, including All-Star, charity games and Awards shows," Bettman said in a statement Wednesday. "He frequently attended games, and was with us as recently as September's World Cup.

"Alan always displayed humor and grace and he will be greatly missed. We send condolences to Alan's wife, Tanya, and the rest of his family as well as to his countless friends and the multitudes he entertained."

Thicke was a close friend of Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, who shared his thoughts on Twitter:

"Janet & I are deeply saddened to hear of Alan's passing. He was a wonderful man, father, husband and friend. He will be missed by all. RIP Alan."

Thicke became friends with Gretzky when he was captain of the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky was at Thicke's home when he received the call he had been traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.

"Outside of the Oilers and the Kings and my wife and I, he was the first person that knew the trade was going to happen," Gretzky told Grantland in a 2014 interview. "I knew he wasn't going to say anything. Most importantly, he was probably the biggest L.A. Kings fan in town, so he probably wanted it to happen more than anybody."

Thicke was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and his love of hockey was well known.

"RIP Alan Thicke," the Kings said among the many teams posting tributes on Twitter.

In 1992, Thicke served as master of ceremonies at Expo Hall for the Tampa Bay Lightning's first game.

"The master of ceremonies for the very first #TBLightning game to ever be played at Expo Hall. Rest in peace, Mr. Thicke," the Lightning said on Twitter.

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