Abel to Yzerman
by George Malik on 02/05/11 at 06:50 AM ET
With the Windsor Star, WJBK and the Detroit News suggesting that rumors that the Michigan legislature’s considering naming the as-yet-to-be-named second span over the Detroit River the “Gordie Howe” bridge, DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to lobbyist Tom Shields about the reality of the situation:
“Forget putting a shovel in the ground or having somebody pay for it. There’s a long way to go,” Shields said. “I’ve had like 10 media calls on this, and of all of the other important issues on this thing, they cover the superfluous ones, which was just someone throwing out a name. I’m sure that you’ll see polls and newspaper headlines saying, ‘What should we name this?’ ”
That we have. It was on Fox 2’s evening news, and the “name recognition” angle’s growing by the day.
Nonetheless, Shields says that this kind of issue isn’t something that will be determined today or tomorrow—he can’t say this, but I can: because Matty Morun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge and wants to build a second span next to it, against the wishes of the Canadian government, has been pouring money into Lansing in an attempt to scuttle a border crossing already approved by the U.S. and Canadian governments, with the latter putting up $500 million to fit the construction bill—so until the legislature determines whether to support the bridge and Morun files the lawsuits he’s likely to file to slow the construction of the Detroit River International Crossing down, this is a great idea, but nothing more:
“They’re probably not going to name this bridge until two or three years from now,” Shields said. “They’ve been calling this bridge the DRIC bridge, and the governor has now decided to start calling it the International Trade Crossing. But that’s not going to be the name. But the actual process is that the two governments will get together once it’s approved and come up with a joint name that they can agree to.”
While it remains early in the process, gaining support to immortalize Howe at the appropriate time shouldn’t be difficult.
“If you guys are interested we can start a campaign for this,” said Shields, half-joking. “It’s brilliant; nobody is going to vote against a Gordie Howe bridge. It would be difficult to vote against.”
Red Wings GM Ken Holland likes the idea…
“I haven’t heard much about it,” Holland said. “It would be an honor, obviously, to Gordie and his family. Gordie has meant so much to the history of hockey and sports history of Detroit, and he’s a Canadian, it would be a tremendous honor to bestow upon him.”
As does his son, Marty:
“I’m sure that his first trip to Detroit was across the old bridge that started his long lasting career,” Marty Howe said. “His love for the city, the wonderful people and the life-long friends that Gordie has made in Detroit over the past 65 years, it would be a great honor to have the bridge named for him.”
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