The hockey world is mourning the loss of Edmonton Oilers legend Dave Semenko, who died Thursday at age 59 after a short battle with cancer.
Semenko was best known on the ice for his tough-guy ways, serving as bodyguard for Wayne Gretzky. Off the ice, he was beloved for his big heart and sense of humour.
Several retired Oilers have been paying tribute to Semenko throughout the day via statements and media appearances.
Wayne Gretzky issued the following statement to share his thoughts on his longtime teammate and friend:
“One of the first Oilers I met in 1978, I didn’t know at the time the impact he would have in my life and my career. He was the toughest player I knew and yet the biggest Teddy Bear you would ever know. A beloved Oiler that will be missed dearly because of his kind heart and funny sense of humour. He made us all better people. RIP # 27, thanks for your friendship.”