Gordie Howe, one of the NHL’s legendary athletes and ambassadors, died last June 10, 2016 at 88. “He is Mr. Hockey, his influence and legacy are both as broad as his shoulders” said Brian Burke, President of hockey operation of Calgary Flames.
Howe, born on March 31, 1928 had been diagnosed with dementia in 2012. He had previously taken care of his wife Colleen, until she died from complications of Pick’s Disease in 2009.
During Howe’s playing career in the 1940’s and 1970’s. He had been famous, and was often featured in newsreels. The former Detroit Red Wings general manager Jack Adams called Howe “The Babe Ruth of Hockey”. His popularity reached the confines of the sports pages. His achievements were written in Look magazine. Former NHL and World Hockey Association coach Harry Neale has long said that Howe is the best all-around player in NHL history.
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Howe played his first game in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings in 1946 at age 18, and played his last game for the Hartford Whalers at age 52 in 1980.
“If you equate greatness with superior play and durability, there is no match for Gordie Howe – I don’t even think there is a challenger,” Neale once told USA TODAY Sports.
In an era when 20 goals confirmed a player was near the head of his class, Howe scored at least 23 for 22 consecutive NHL seasons and the next five in the WHA. He won the scoring title six times and won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player six times.
“When I think about players, I consider three ingredients: the head, heart and the feet,” Bowman has said. “Some players don’t have any of those, and some players have one or two. But Gordie had all three in high dimensions.”
Howe played with left wing Ted Lindsay and center Sid Abel on the famed Production Line. The name was chosen to salute fact that the three players played in a team famous for automobile assembly lines. Coach Tommy Ivan put the Red Wings trio together in 1947 when Howe was 19. In 1949-50, Lindsay, Abel and Howe finished first, second and third in the NHL scoring race and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup championship.
Gordon “Gordie” Howe
Born: March 31, 1928, in Floral, Saskatchewan, Canada
Nickname: Mr. Hockey
Education: Attended but did not graduate from King George Community (High) School in Saskatoon
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1972 into the Hockey Hall of Fame; member of 11 halls of fame
Playing career: 1946-71 with the Detroit Red Wings; 1973-77 with the World Hockey Association’s Houston Aeros; 1977-79 with the WHA’s New England Whalers; 1979-80 with the NHL’s Hartford Whalers. The right wing was a 21-time NHL All-Star, 12 times to the first team; six-time NHL scoring leader and six-time league MVP; played on four Stanley Cup champion teams with the Detroit Red Wings; oldest to play in an NHL game (52 years, 10 days)
Foundation: The Howe Foundation, founded by his late wife Colleen “to help those in need and allow them to be able to enjoy, participate and learn about the great sport of hockey.”
Author: Gordie Howe: My Hockey Memories (with Frank Condron), 1999; and … Howe!: An Authorized Autobiography (with Colleen Howe, Tom Delisle), 1995; Let’s play Hockey, 1972
TV series: Himself on Yes, Dear (2004) and E.N.G. (1993)
Trivia: “Mr. Hockey” and “Mrs. Hockey,” for his wife, became registered trademarks
Quote:“No, but 11 other guys did.” — Howe, asked if he ever had broken his nose
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