The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/08/11 at 02:39 PM ET
Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji caught up with Red Wings director of pro scouting Mark Howe to discuss the fact that was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction class of 2011, as well as the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame’s induction class, and Howe is…still pretty darn amazed by what Wakiji suggests has been a “productive summer”:
“I found out about the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame about a month ago,” Howe said in a phone interview Thursday after a luncheon announcing the inductees. “There’s been a lot of good news coming my way.”
As Wakiji duly notes, Howe actually missed the Hockey Hall of Fame’s repeated attempts to reach him until the Wings asked him to answer the darn phone...
“I was on the road, been on vacation for a week and then was home for two and a half days before heading to Detroit for the July 1st free agency,” Howe said. “I was running around getting caught up and I had a couple calls that didn’t show up on the caller ID so I didn’t answer. About 15 minutes later I got an e-mail from the Red Wings office that someone in Toronto wanted to get a hold of me about an appearance. I wrote back and said if they called, I would answer.”
So Howe’s phone rang and it turned out to be Bill Hay, the chairman and CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Jim Gregory and Pat Quinn, co-chairmen of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee.
“It did leave me speechless,” Howe said. “I was unaware of the timing of the selection and unaware of when the voting was. It kind of takes your breath away and your heart goes up a beat or two. It was a call I never expected. For a hockey player, there’s no greater honor.”
Howe’s induction continues a four-year run of Red Wings going into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2008, Igor Larionov was inducted. In 2009, Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull were honored. Last year, senior vice president Jim Devellano and Dino Ciccarelli became members.
“A lot of great players have gone through there,” Howe said. “Nick Lidstrom, when he retires, will go in. There are a few other guys in line. I played with a few, scouted some of them. It just continues the tradition started in the ‘40s and ‘50s of great players like my dad and (Alex) Delvecchio. It’s great for the organization, great for the Ilitches, great for the city. That’s why they call it Hockeytown.”
And while Mr. Hockey doesn’t tend to speak to the press these days, the Philadelphia Daily News’s Jack McCaffery managed to speak to the elder HOwe about his son’s double inductions:
“I am very, very proud of him,” Gordie said. “He’s a gentleman, in many ways. There won’t be any bragging. With him, if you didn’t hear it today, you won’t hear it tomorrow.”
The Howes were seated side by side, applauding the inductees who will be formally presented at a Nov. 11 dinner. They will also be together, physically and historically, Nov. 14 in Toronto, when Mark Howe will join the Hockey Hall of Fame, his left-handed swing good for 197 NHL goals, 138 for the Flyers from 1982 through 1992.
“What took so long?” Gordie Howe said.
It took Mark Howe 16 years after his retirement to reach the Hockey Hall, or exactly 16 more years than it took Gordie. That’s because anyone commonly known as Mister Hockey gets in right away. But once that formal induction is complete, there will never be another need to answer the eternal Howe family question. It was, after all, a good idea to let Mark try to match his father’s hockey achievements rather than to continue to loop home runs over right-field fences.
“We talked about it when he was young,” said Gordie, of the towering family hockey standard. “He said it would be no problem.”
As a defenseman, Mark would never be in a position to match the statistics of his father, a right wing. But once his plaque is affixed to the same wall in Canada, they literally will be on an even hockey surface.
“They could have told me to try some other sport, but I wouldn’t have listened,” Mark said. “I knew I was going to play hockey. I knew I had the ability to play. But the most important thing was that I had the love of the game. It has been in my heart and soul since the day I was born. You either have it or you don’t. You can’t teach that. You play the game because you love the game.”
Update: The Philadelphia Daily News’s Dick Jerardi posted a blurb about the Philly inductions, too.
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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.