RIP: Gordie Howe, "Mr. Hockey"

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Met him twice; once as a kid at the Olympia before a game, and again at a charity event 30 years later. 


He was an extremely nice man, especially to kids, and very active in the community, but man-o-man don't get into a fight with him in a game. Long fuse with a wicked haymaker at the end. Could have been a boxer.



Hockey great Gordie Howe dies at 88


Gordie Howe, a legendary figure in Detroit sports and widely acclaimed as one of the greatest hockey players in history, died shortly before 8 a.m. Friday, the Red Wings confirmed. He was 88.

Howe died surrounded by family at his son Murray's house. He suffered a series of strokes in recent years.

Howe combined strength and mobility, brute intimidation and prolific scoring, a blend of skills rare in the NHL, which he performed with transcendent ability.

A winner of four Stanley Cups, six scoring titles and six MVPs, Howe is third in NHL history with 1,850 points, including 801 goals and 1,049 assists, despite playing in a defensive era.

He tallied 20 or more goals in 22 straight seasons, 1949-71. He ranked among the top five scorers 20 times.
Both Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr, sometimes heralded as the greatest hockey players in history, say Howe topped them.

Scotty Bowman, winner of nine Stanley Cups as a coach, said, “If you could make a mold for a hockey player it would be him. I never thought there was another player close to him.”

In 1980, at the age of 52, Howe became the oldest player in NHL history, and the only to play in five decades. He also is the only one to play with his sons.

“When winter arrived, it always just felt like time to put on my skates,” Howe said in his autobiography, “Mr. Hockey, My Story.”

“It didn’t matter whether I was a kid or a grandfather. The feeling never changed.”

In 1947, Howe first played with Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel on what sportswriters in the industrial city called “The Production Line.”
They drove the Red Wings to eight consecutive first-place finishes through 1955, with Alex Delvecchio replacing Abel. Those teams won four Stanley Cups in six years.

Such was Howe’s greatness, however, many noted his humility and humanity, the love story that was his marriage, the accomplishment of raising fine children and the construction of a hockey facility in St. Clair Shores that helped jump-start Michigan kids in the Canadian game.

“I like to think of myself as a family man first and a hockey player second,” Howe said.







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