Gordie Howe: The Greatest All-Around Hockey Player Ever

Gordie Howe:  The Best Ever

Last week was rough for sports fans around the world.  Not only did we lose the Great Muhammad Ali, but we lost Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe who passed at age 88 last Friday (June 10, 2016).  I had previously posted about my one and only meeting with Mr. Howe and how that was one of my most favorite hockey moments ever.

In recent years there have been a lot of famous folks that have come to pass.  In my personal life I have lost two uncles who meant a lot to me.  Life is not the same without them.  I think about them everyday and although they say time heals all wounds I seem to miss them more and more each day.  When I found out that Gordie Howe had died, I felt shaken to the core.  We were on a school bus heading out for an all-day field trip with my son’s grade one class.  It was Friday morning and a dad of a friend of my son mentioned that we lost Gordie Howe today.  I was a little in shock.  I knew that he had been in poor health, but Mr. Hockey was a fighter so I was devastated to hear this news.  Quote honestly I was saddened.  And today is Monday and I am still saddened by the news that Mr. Hockey is no more.

The tributes have been amazing.  One of the favorite things that I have seen is a post on Facebook from my friend Grant.  Now I haven’t seen Grant for over twenty years but through the technology of Facebook we reconnected a few years back.  (I hope that Grant doesn’t mind me sharing this).  We are both a proud fathers of our sons.  Grant’s son is named Tucker and I believe that a few years ago when he was getting his first hockey jersey he requested a red Detroit Redwings “Howe” jersey.  Here is an amazing picture of Grant and Tucker.  This what hockey is all about folks.  This is the impact that Mr.  Hockey, Gordie Howe has had on generations of hockey fans.Grant & Tucker

How cool is that?

My favorite player growing up was Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers.  I liked the way he played and I especially liked how he made room for himself on the ice.  I liked him because to me, Mark Messier was the modern-day Gordie Howe.  He could skate, score, set up plays and he could make room for himself and his teammates with a little physical play, a cross check here, an elbow over there and when necessary a fight.  So indirectly you might say that Gordie Howe was always my favorite player.  In fact in one of our previous posts on the top 100 players of all-time, we listed Gordie Howe as the #2 player behind only Wayne Gretzky.  The fact is that Gordie Howe is the best overall player of any era anytime.  Oh what I wouldn’t do to have a red Detroit Red Wings #9 jersey like you Tucker.

I am truly saddened at the passing of Gordie Howe.

Gordie Howe Tribute

Born Mar 31 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan, Gordie Howe won six Hart Memorial trophies, and six Art Ross trophies.  The NHL needs to change the name of the Hart Memorial trophy as the regular season MVP to the Gordie Howe Memorial Trophy.

9 Facts About Gordie Howe

There are so many amazing facts about Mr. Hockey that we could share.  Here are nine cool facts about Gordie Howe that hockey fans might appreciate.

  1. Gordie Howe was 51 when he played his final season in the NHL for the Hartford Whalers.  He scored 15 goals and added 26 assists for 41 points as he played in all 80 games for the Whalers that season.  He also amassed 42 penalty minutes that season.  His 41 points would have been good enough for 148th spot in today’s 30 team NHL.
  2. Gordie Howe won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and Two Avco Cups (WHA) with the Houston Aeros.
  3. The Gordie Howe Hattrick – In hockey, a Gordie Howe hat trick is a variation on the hat-trick, where a player scores a goal, records an assist, and gets in a fight all in one game.  The namesake of the achievement, Gordie Howe, achieved a Gordie Howe hat trick only twice in his NHL career: Howe got his first Gordie Howe hat trick on October 11, 1953 when he fought the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Fernie Flaman, assisted on Red Kelly’s goal, and scored his own.  Howe’s second GHHT happened on March 21, 1954, once again versus the Maple Leafs. Howe scored the opening goal, assisted on two Ted Lindsay goals, and fought Ted “Teeder” Kennedy.
  4. Could have been a Ranger – After previously declining a tryout with the New York Rangers, on October 8, 1946, Gordie Howe signed as a free agent by Detroit, October 8, 1946.
  5. Mr. Hockey – Howe’s name and nickname, “Mr. Hockey”, as well as his late wife’s nickname as “Mrs. Hockey”, are registered trademarks.
  6. Gordie Howe played for six professional hockey teams – USHL – Omaha Knights, NHL – Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers, in the WHA for the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers and in the IHL for the Detroit Vipers.  Howe played internationally only on one occasion, at the 1974 Summit Series.
  7. Longevity – Gordie Howe is the only player to have played in six different decades.
  8. Scoring Leader – Gordie Howe holds the record for the longest number of consecutive seasons in top ten scoring in the NHL.  He ranked among the top ten in league scoring for 21 consecutive years.  He holds the record for the most consecutive NHL 20-goal seasons: 22 (1949–1971).  More achievements can be found here.
  9. Gordie Howe and the number nine – Gordie Howe was nine days old when he moved to Saskatoon from Floral.  He was one of nine siblings.  He choose the number nine because in those days players with the lower numbers got the lower bunks on the trains when team traveled.

Gordie Howe was honored in Saskatchewan today.

Full Story from TSN: http://www.tsn.ca/gordie-howe-honored-in-saskatchewan-1.506701

There was a tribute in the Saskatchewan legislature Monday for the man known as Mr. Hockey.

Government house leader Ken Cheveldayoff told the assembly that Gordie Howe was known as a humble man, but when the puck dropped, he was a fierce competitor.

Cheveldayoff joked that hockey fans everywhere know what a Gordie Howe hat trick is — a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game.

Cheveldayoff also noted that Howe always made a point to talk to fans and sign autographs.

Howe, who was raised in Saskatoon, died Friday at the age of 88.

Flags in Saskatoon and at the Saskatchewan legislature were lowered to half-mast in his honour and will stay that way until his funeral in Detroit on Wednesday.

In February 2005, Saskatoon named the street in front of the city’s largest arena Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe Lane.

In June 2010, Mr. Hockey became Mr. Hockey when he received an honorary law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

We love you Gordie Howe.  Mr. Hockey if you are looking down on all of us hockey fans, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being the greatest hockey player ever and for being one of the greatest human beings ever. #ElbowsUp