gordie howe

Today, the hockey world and the city of Detroit lost a legend in Gordie Howe. Howe passed away today at the age of 88 and while the reasons are unknown, his health was declining, with dementia and suffering a stroke. Howe was a legend in the sport of hockey, getting the nickname “Mr. Hockey” and played over five decades, something that will never be replicated again.

gordie howe

Playing Time in Detroit

Gordie Howe made his debut for the Detroit Red Wings on October 16, 1946, and he scored in it at age 18. Howe played for the team from 1946 until 1971, breaking records and winning Stanley Cups, even creating the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”, which consists of one goal, assist and fight. Funny thing is, Howe only had two in his career. Gordie Howe ended up playing in 1,924 games, scoring 869 times, getting 1,141 assists, ending with 2,010 points in regular season and playoff games. Howe was a part of “the production line” with Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay for how much they did on the ice. In 1949-1950 they finished one-two-three in the NHL in scoring. Howe held some fantastic records, playing in the most games in the NHL ever, most consecutive 20 goal seasons with 22, 23 All-Star game appearances and he was the oldest player in the NHL at age 52, just to name a few accomplishments.

gordie howe old

Gordie Howe’s Life After Hockey

After retiring from the NHL, Howe was offered to be the head coach of the New York Islanders, but he turned it down. In 1997, Howe signed a one-day contract with the Detroit Vipers to play for one shift, and at 70 years old Howe became the only hockey player to ever play professional hockey in six decades, from the 1940s until the 1990s. In 2007, the Red Wings revealed a Gordie Howe statue at Joe Louis Arena. In May of 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder agreed to name the new international bridge over the Detroit River “The Gordie Howe International Bridge” in honor of Howe, and it will be open in 2020.

Howe has four kids, two who would play in the NHL. Gordie was married to his wife Colleen on April 15, 1953 and they were married for 53 years before she passed away in 2009 due to pick’s disease. After his wife passed away, Howe spent time living with all four of his children on a rotating basis and his health started to go down, suffering from dementia and in 2014 he suffered his second stroke that almost killed him. He was paralyzed on his right side, could barely talk, and when coming home from the hospital he needed someone to carry him in and out of his wheelchair. He had a hard time swallowing food and lost 35 pounds. Howe would go to Mexico for stem-cell treatment and it helped him greatly. After the first treatment Howe was able to walk again and his speaking improved. While taking the stem-cells did let Howe see his 88th birthday, it wasn’t able to save his life completely. His son Mark said that Gordie left “peacefully, beautifully, and with no regrets.”

gordie howe and wayne

What People Are Saying About Howe

Gordie Howe is a legend and is respected by many people around the NHL and the world. His impact on the city of Detroit and the NHL left a mark on many people. Wayne Gretzky, a long time friend of Howe and someone who would go on to break some of Howe’s records said “Gordie Howe is the greatest player who ever lived. There’s not even a question about it. Imagine scoring 20 goals at 50 years old? Jonathan Toews might be the greatest athlete in the game today. He’s not playing at 50 and he’s not scoring 20 goals. Nobody ever will again. It’s a fact.”

Mike Ilitch, the owner of the Detroit Red Wings said today in a statement, “Today is a sad day for the Detroit Red Wings and the entire hockey world as together we mourn the loss of one of the greatest hockey players of all-time, The Red Wings organization and the National Hockey League would not be what they are today without Gordie Howe.  There is no nickname more fitting for him than “Mr. Hockey.”  He embodied on and off the ice what it meant to be both a Red Wing and a Detroiter. He was tough, skilled, and consistently earned success at the highest level. His achievements are numerous and his accomplishments immeasurable.  It is truly a blessing to have had him both in our organization and our city for so many years.  He will be deeply missed.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said today “Gordie’s toughness as a competitor on the ice was equaled only by his humor and humility away from it. No sport could have hoped for a greater, more-beloved ambassador.”

Event the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings biggest rival, said “The Chicago Blackhawks offer their heartfelt condolences to Gordie’s family and the entire Detroit Red Wings organization. There is no greater rivalry in hockey than the one between the Red Wings and the Blackhawks – and Gordie was a large part of that. The relationship between our family and Gordie is three generations long and we are grateful for what he gave to our organization, the National Hockey League and the sport of hockey. There’s a reason why he is called ‘Mr. Hockey,’ because of what he did for the game, and we stand with the entire sports world, in mourning his loss.”

Overall, Howe was a great man and a legend in the sport of hockey and nobody will ever forget what he did for the game and how much he meant for many people and the city of Detroit.

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