Gordie Howe, the most legendary name in the history of professional hockey, died on Friday morning. He was 88.
Known simply as “Mr. Hockey,” Howe 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.
Howe suffered a serious stroke in October 2014. The hockey legend later underwent stem cell treatment in Mexico and his family saw significant improvement in him – enough that he was well enough to attend a dinner in his honor back in his hometown Saskatoon in February 2015. But he battled dementia, according to his son, Murray Howe.
“At this point,” Murray Howe told the Detroit Free Press in March, “he is a man of few words. He understands what everyone is saying, but he talks in short sentences and usually very quietly. It can be hard to understand him. But he is good with body language and hand signals. He is very funny, and if you listen closely, what he says is usually something extremely funny.”
Howe was famous for his brute strength and toughness, combined with an unparalleled goal-scoring ability. He was also famous for his longevity, having played for the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 at age 52 – the only NHL player to have played in five different decades.
Another part of that longevity: Having the most points by a father/son combo in NHL history, scoring 2,592 with son Mark Howe.
He won the Hart Trophy six times as NHL MVP, and won six Art Ross trophies as its leading scorer.
Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
He leaves behind a massive legacy in the world of hockey, from the statues of him in Detroit to the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick,” which is when a player has a goal, an assist and a fight in a game. (Even though Howe actually didn’t have many of them.)
He was a native of Floral, Saskatchewan. He passed away in Ohio.