Hockey legend Gordie Howe dies at age 88


Gordie Howe, the man affectionately referred to as “Mr. Hockey,” has died. He was 88.

A statement from the Howe family said he passed away peacefully in Ohio Friday morning with his family by his side.

“With the passing of Gordie Howe, the game of hockey has lost an icon,” said NHLPA executive director Don Feher in a statement. “Gordie, or ‘Mr. Hockey’ as he was known to legions of fans, was a true legend who had an immense impact on the game, the Players who followed him and the fans who revered him. On behalf of the Players and staff of the NHLPA, we join Howe’s family, friends and fans on mourning his loss.”

Not only is Howe considered one of the greatest Detroit Red Wings of all time, he is largely considered one of the greatest hockey players ever. He played 26 seasons in the NHL and six seasons in the World Hockey Association. He’s the all-time leader in games played in the NHL with 1,767. He’s second in career goals (801) and fourth in career points (1,850). He won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, and was a 23-time All-Star selection.

“All hockey fans grieve the loss of the incomparable Gordie Howe,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “A remarkable athlete whose mastery of our sport was reflected by the longevity of his career and by his nickname, ‘Mr. Hockey,’ Gordie’s commitment to winning was matched only by his commitment to his teammates, to his friends, to the Red Wings, to the city of Detroit and — above all — to his family.”

Several hockey greats shared their condolences and thoughts about Howe following news of his passing. NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky called into “The Dan Patrick Show” on Friday, saying Howe would be “sorely missed.”

“To me, he’s the greatest hockey player who ever played,” said Gretzky.
Former Detroit Red Wings captain and current Tampa Bay Lightning General manager Steve Yzerman released the following statement:

“It was very saddening to hear the news of Gordie’s passing this morning. He has been an icon not only in Detroit, but throughout the entire hockey world for as long as I can remember. As one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL, the majority of his career being in Detroit, it was an honor to wear the same uniform, spend time with, laugh, joke and seek advice from him. Gordie’s humility and kindness left a permanent impression on me, greatly influencing how I tried to conduct myself throughout my career.

“His impact on the Red Wings organization is still evident today. I travel the world and constantly hear stories from people who love the Wings and share memories of the glory days when Gordie and his teammates ruled the NHL. For all players fortunate enough to play for the Wings, we should take time to thank and honor Gordie, for he is a significant reason why Detroit is such a special place to play.

“To Gordie’s surviving family, I offer my sincere condolences, in particular to his son Mark, my former teammate and colleague, who cannot help but remind me of his father every time I see him.”

Funeral arrangements have not been announced, though Howe’s wishes were to be cremated with his ashes scattered on Bear Lake in northern Michigan according to Yahoo! Sports.

One comment

  1. Gordie was something. years ago I spoke with a former player who roomed with him in the WHA. He spoke fondly about a night that Robbie Ftorek called Gordie an “Old man” in the pre-game skate. Ftorek’s antics carried on into the first period. Apparently in an earlier game, Ftorek cut one of Gordies sons badly and Ftorek had Dad in his gunsights this night. As the legend goes, Gordie got Ftorek in the corner in the second period first with an elbow and then in the same motion, his stick came up and opened Ftorek’s face for around 20 stitches. Gordie got the “obligatory” 2 minutes for high sticking, Ftorek left the ice with his face in a towel, got stitched up and was out on the ice for the third period and he was still threatening an early end to Gordies life. Gordie seemed disturbed at the fact that this guy showed up again. His room mate asked him if he was ok — Gordie’s reply was “He came back – I gotta cut him again” … That he did with another assault on Ftoreks face and finished him for the night.
    Gordie rarely went looking for trouble, but if it found its way to him, he swiftly took care of it.
    Talk to any player who played in Gordies day and they will tell you that for many – their “right of passage into the NHL” included a facial scar of some kind – courtesy of number 9.

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