Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Howe, Gordie

Nicknamed “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe was an all-time great who played for the Detroit Red Wings for 25 seasons. Howe was born on March 31, 1928 in Saskatchewan, Canada. By the age of 15 he already had a tryout with a professional hockey team, the New York Rangers, but signed with the Red Wings in 1944 at the age of 18, playing his first professional game in 1946. Coach Jack Adams recognized Howe as quick, tough and accurate.

Playing for the Red Wings at Olympia Stadium from 1946-1971, Howe developed into the National Hockey League’s finest all-around player, as feared for his “educated elbows” in the corners of the rink as for his ambidextrous stick handling.

The famed “Production Line” – Howe, Sid Abel, and Ted Lindsay – led the Wings to four Stanley Cup championships. Howe captured six scoring titles, was named Most Valuable Player six times, and was selected for a remarkable 21 consecutive All-Star Games. The Red Wings retired his number “9” in 1972 following his September 1971 departure from the game.

In 1973, Howe came out of retirement to fulfill a dream of playing with his two sons, Marty and Mark in the World Hockey Association, leading the Houston Aeros to the championship and being named – at 46 years old – the league’s MVP. He continued playing with his sons for five more seasons, moving from the Aeros to the New England Whalers in 1977, then back to the NHL with the Harford Whalers to effectively end his career in 1980.

By the time he finally quit for good after 32 seasons, Gordie Howe had scored 1,071 goals and accumulated 2,589 points in regular season and playoffs games. He’s also had his nose broken 14 times and taken 300 stitches to his face. Even his most bitter rival, Montreal’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard, had to admit: “Sincerely, I have never seen a greater hockey player.”

Howe died on June 10, 2016. When a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada opens in 2024 it will bear the name The Gordie Howe International Bridge. 



Red Wing's 1966 yearbook cover, featuring Gordie Howe on the left - 2004.072.033

Booklet commemorating Gordie Howe, 1972 - 2007.004.460

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