The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/28/13 at 08:30 PM ET
The Utica Observer-Dispatch's Don Laible penned a superb review of Mark Howe's memoir, Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey, and co-author Neil Greenberg told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat's Mike Mastovich that Howe was nearly as blunt as Darren McCarty was was with Kevin Allen in providing honest and forthright recollections about his life's major, minor and sometimes embarrassing milestones--at length...
But this evening, the Utica Observer-Dispatch's Laible offers an insight into a part of Howe's life that he discusses more infrequently than any other aspect thereof in his day job as the Wings' director of pro scouting:
Today, Howe lives out of a suitcase mostly, on the road evaluating prospects and veterans, on a constant search to strengthen the Detroit Red Wings organization. As their director of pro scouting, life is good for Howe.
"I've been doing it (scouting) for 19 years, since I retired," says Howe as he was en route from Hartford,Connecticut to New York's Long Island for a Wings-Islanders matchup. In scouting, a different team, in a different city on a daily basis are the requirements of the position. On this particular visit on the Island, Howe was to meet with Detroit's general manager post-game. The caveat to evaluating the players for the Saturday afternoon NHL game, the previous night Howe, the former Olympian, took in the AHL Hartford Wolfpack home game. Mark was able to stay at his brother Marty Howe's home and skip the usual hotel atmosphere.
There's no complaints of the time on the road, as job requirements in being Detroit's director of pro scouting mandate. Commuting from his home in southern New Jersey, his office could be his computer, hotel room, arena press box, airport lounge, or any combination of these. "I got into scouting right away. All the coaching slots were full at the time. When I was playing hockey, I never thought I'd be scouting,"Howe tells. Of his 1,355 games played professionally (NHL & WHA), Howe's final three seasons of his 22-year career were with Detroit. It seemed fitting for Howe to wind down his all-star career as a defenseman with the organization that his dad "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe was the star attraction for a quarter-century.
By checking out players who could strengthen the Red Wings and possibly bring them closer to another Stanley Cup Championship, on the east coast, Howe is in his Garden State home more often than not. The lifestyle suits Howe, who during his junior hockey career became a Memorial Cup MVP with the Toronto Marlboros. "There's not much work in the summer. Coaching is completely different. You pretty much go all year around," Howe explains. "I've seen coaches in Detroit at work by 6:30 - 7:00am, everyday. I feel very fortunate to do what I do. I couldn't do it (scouting) if I didn't like it, and have passion for hockey."
By observing games in Bridgeport (CT) and Hartford four or five times a year, Howe is able to catch up on family and mutual interests with older brother Marty, himself a veteran of 646 combined WHA/NHL games. During this recent stop in Hartford, the Howe boys talked of going on a fishing trip to Nova Scotia next year. "As kids, we would fight everyday," Mark said. In reading Mark's book, Gordie Howe's Son : A Hall of Fame Life In The Shadow of 'Mr. Hockey", it's clear that the brothers look out for one another; tightly-knit.
Update: Regarding McCarty's book, My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star...
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.