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Some Gordie Howe Stories

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."

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gordie+howe

Comments

Primis's avatar

That last story may be the best Gordie Howe story of them all.

Posted by Primis on 06/11/16 at 08:52 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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