Gordie Howe, one of hockey’s greatest players, has passed away today at the age of 88.
Howe began his NHL career in 1946 with the Detroit Red Wings, spending 25 years with them before retiring in 1971. At the time he was the league’s all-time leader in goals and points.He led the Wings to four Stanley Cup titles in the 1950s.
Howe won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league MVP six times.He was among the league’s top-five scorers for 20 straight seasons between 1949 to 1969.
He also garnered a reputation for tough play. His sharp elbows were the stuff of legend.
His retirement lasted only two seasons, as he joined his sons Mark and Marty in the World Hockey Association with the Houston Aeros in 1973-74. He played five seasons in the WHA with the Aeros and New England Whalers, amassing 508 points in 419 games and leading the Aeros win two championships.
When the WHA merged with the NHL, Howe, at 51, played one final season with the Whalers. He finished his NHL career with 801 goals and 1,850 points. Those records stood until broken by Wayne Gretzky in 1989 (points) and 1994 (goals). His record of 1,767 games still stands. He’s second all-time in goals and fourth in points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howe was without question one of the greatest players ever to play the game. His longevity in the game might never be broken. He was an impressive physical specimen and the prototype for today’s power forwards.
Howe was also the inspiration of many players, particularly Wayne Gretzky, who went on to broke many of Howe’s scoring records. Even Gretzky considers Howe the greatest player of all time.
Away from the rink, Howe was a good-natured, soft-spoken man who had plenty of time for his fans. He was a true gentleman and was a fine ambassador for the game long after his retirement.
RIP Mr. Hockey. Thank you for everything you did for the wonderful game of hockey.