The hockey legend Wayne Gretzky paced the stage in the vast Vancouver Convention Centre as the featured speaker of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 49th annual convention Tuesday.
Next door is the Olympic caldron that the four-time Stanley Cup winner lighted on the opening night of the 2010 Winter Games.
Now 51 and retired from the N.H.L. for 13 years, Gretzky is at ease before crowds. And Tuesday, he revealed a family secret as his voice quavered and his eyes welled up. His 73-year-old father, Walter, had been diagnosed with the degenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease earlier in the morning.
“That’s something that hits you right in the gut,” Gretzky said.