Kukla's Korner Hockey
We lost a true great in Gordie Howe. I had the fortunate pleasure to be with Gordie on a number of occasions...
and with each opportunity, I found him to be a tremendously nice man. We couldn’t help but always have a good time together...
Few athletes are acknowledged as the greatest of their sport; Gordie Howe was and always will be...
They called him Mr. Hockey. I simply call him a legend!
-Jack Nicklaus via his Twitter account where you can view a great picture of the two legends.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Surely it cannot possibly be more than 60 years – and yet it is.
My older brother Jim, who has a far better memory, remembers the score, the fact that the Detroit Red Wings beat his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs and that both “Terrible” Ted Lindsay and Gordie “Elbows” Howe scored.
I was too young. Our father had been given tickets to Maple Leaf Gardens by a buyer who toured the lumber mills of the north in search of good timber. We had driven down, our parents baffled by clover leafs, unused to streetlights, and I recall being wary of the Gardens’ escalators and, after too much pop, terrified by a stainless steel urinal that seemed as long and packed as the arena itself.
But I do remember, vividly, when our father pointed at No. 9 in the Red Wings jersey, a lanky fellow with a dark forelock of hair, and said, “There is the greatest hockey player in the world.”
continued and make sure to watch the video too...
from David Shoalts and Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
For two years in the early 1960s, just before his career ended because of an eye injury, Doug Barkley was Mr. Howe’s roommate on the road with the Detroit Red Wings.
“In that time, I just learned so much – not only about hockey, but how to treat people,” Mr. Barkley said. “He would never turn down anybody for an autograph. It used to be, after the games, we’d get on the bus and there’d be Gordie at the door, signing autographs, and the guys would be yelling at him, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ But he would stay until he signed the last one.”...
Rick Dudley, senior vice-president of hockey operations for the Montreal Canadiens, saw both the hard-nosed and humorous sides of Mr. Howe when he ran into him, literally, in the early 1970s, when both men played in the WHA.
“I went to the WHA. The first game we played against Houston, I crossed the blue line and he clipped me with his stick on the forehead,” Mr. Dudley said. “I remember the puck was dumped in [later] and he went back to get it. I ran him. I figured I’ve got to let him know not to do that. From about 20 feet, I ran him and hit him. He bounced off the boards and we both went down. He just kind of looked at me.
“After the game, a lot of reporters came down and asked, ‘Why didn’t you fight him?’ For once in my life, I thought fairly quickly on my feet and said, ‘Well, it seemed like a no-win situation. If I beat him up, then I just beat up a 50-year-old man. If I get the shit kicked out of me, which was quite conceivable, I just got the hell kicked out of me by a 50-year-old man.’
“We played them next a month later and I had made Sports Illustrated for quote of the month for saying that. He tapped me on the shin pads and said, ‘You’re getting a lot of mileage out of me, aren’t you kid?’ That was kind of a thrill.”...
Former NHL player and assistant coach Brent Peterson first met Mr. Howe when they were in the Hartford Whalers organization together and remembers a charity exhibition game in which he played on a line with Gordie and Mark Howe.
“We were playing the police team and this young kid from their team was running all over the place, hitting everybody,” Mr. Peterson recalls. “Gordie yells, ‘Hey son, this is a charity game.’ Gordie let it go for about three minutes and nothing changes. So he jumps over the boards, goes into the corner with this guy, and boom, gives him three elbows, broke his nose. Gordie was 61 years old. As they’re carrying him off the ice, Gordie says, ‘Hold on’ and skates over and says, ‘I tried to tell you kid. I warned you."
via the NHLPA,
“I was very sad to learn today of the passing of my longtime teammate, and friend, Gordie Howe. Gordie really was the greatest hockey player who ever lived. I was fortunate to play with Gordie for 12 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and I’ve known him for over 70 years. He could do it all in the game to help his team, both offensively and defensively. He earned everything that he accomplished on the ice.
“Beyond hockey, Colleen and his family meant everything to him. Gordie was larger than life, and he was someone who I thought would live forever. My wife Joanne and I extend our condolences to Gordie’s children — Cathleen, Mark, Marty and Murray — and his entire family and many friends during this time.”
from Vartan Kupelian at the Detroit News,
I grew up in Detroit and Highland Park. Going to Red Wings games with my father was a ritual. He was a factory worker, but back then, even blue-collars could afford to sit in the upper deck or buy standing room and sit on the steps. That was a different time, in a lot of ways, but always special because we were privileged to see Howe, the greatest athlete I ever covered, and nothing was an inconvenience.
Howe could hit a baseball a mile. He could hit a golf ball two miles. And if somebody dared challenge him on the ice, he could throw that poor guy unfortunate enough to be wearing an opposing jersey into the cheap seats. His nickname among teammates was “Power.”
I was sitting in a Greek mythology class at Wayne State years ago when the lecturer began talking about contemporary heroic figures, those among us who the Greeks would turn into myths. He surveyed the class, looking for responses. There were none. Disappointed, the professor continued.
“Think about it,” he said. “Somebody with super-human strength. A powerful physique. Someone who combines a menacing appearance with a kind, gentle soul.”
Still, no response from the befuddled students. Exasperated, the professor said, “Isn’t anybody here a hockey fan? Doesn’t anybody here know about Gordie Howe.”
So maybe it is only fortuitous circumstance that both Ali and Howe died in the same week, and the other bridges we want to fashion between the two men are of our own creation. Giants do not normally die in tandem (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams notwithstanding), and while these two are connected more in the time of their departures than anything else, they defined their places in history in ways that their contemporaries and acolytes can only imagine in wonder and awe. Howe’s funeral will be covered in Canada as Ali’s was here, and his influence upon his nation will endure in its way as Ali’s will here.
-Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea where you can read more on this topic.
Ron MacLean takes us through the career timeline of Gordie Howe, and the 26-year longevity that helped cement his legendary status.
Read the CBC obituary on Gordie Howe here.
Stephen Brunt with the feature.
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