Former NHL and WHL legend, Hall of Famer, and the man known as “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe, has died at his son’s home in Ohio, following a strenuous few years of debilitating strokes and stem cell treatments. He was 88 years old.
Howe, whose ability to seamlessly blend speed, finesse and toughness helped revolutionize the modern game, Howe played for a record 32 NHL and WHL seasons, in a career that spanned four decades, setting nearly every hockey record at the time, many of which still stand to this day. Howe, the former Detroit Red Wing, Houston Aero and Hartford Whaler, was a four-time Stanley Cup winner, 23 time All-Star, and won both the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP and Art Ross Trophy for the NHL scoring title six times.
Howe still holds the record for most seasons and regular season games played, most consecutive 20 goal seasons, and became the first NHL player to score 1000 goals and reach 1500 games played. Howe also retired at the age of 52 years old, a feat that has not come even close to being matched since, and is the namesake of the “Gordie Howe hat trick” – a feat where a player registers a goal, assist and fight in one game.
The pride of Floral, Saskatchewan did not have much international hockey experience, as professionals were barred from playing in Olympic or World Championship competition at the time – however, many will remember one of Howe’s crowning achievements in his post-NHL career was being a member of Team Canada the 1974 Summit Series, as a member of the WHL, playing alongside his sons Marty and Mark. Howe played in seven of the eight Series games, notching three goals and at least one point in every game played.
Our condolences go out to the Howe family, and the hockey world at large, in mourning the loss of arguably the first major superstar of hockey – we all know there will certainly never be another one like Mr. Hockey.