LANSING, MICH. (WLNS)— “Mr. Hockey” is second on the all-time scoring list, a six-time NHL MVP and 23 time all-star. But perhaps what is most remarkable about a man whose career spanned decades is how many generations he inspired.
“He was a big part of being a Red Wings fan,” says Ryan Barker.
“He talked about this guy, Gordie Howe from when I can remember talking to my father… He was a tough guy. He used his elbows,” adds MSU Hockey Assistant Coach Tom Newton.
Such a force to be reckoned with that younger players, like Barker, still yearn for a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick.”
“A fight, a goal, and an assist, all in one game,” explains Barker.
He had grit, but Newton will tell you Mr. Hockey was also a class act.
“Such a gentleman off the ice.”
And on skates, he became a hall of fame legend, scoring 801 goals for the redwings and in his last year, with the Hartford Whalers, earning second place on the all-time scoring list—right behind Wayne Gretzky.
“Wayne Gretzky’s ‘The Great One,’ but Gordie Howe did it first,” says Barker.
And he kept doing it. In the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and even in the 90s.
“He played on a line with his sons,” says Newton in awe.
“He just seemed to continue to play and play and play,” adds former Red Wing Kevin Miller.
Once he unlaced his skates, Howe couldn’t stay away from the game—especially his Red Wings.
“He’d come in the locker room… He’d always be smiling…. And know the guys…. And say hi to the guys,” Miller recalls.
“Mr. Hockey is truly the proper title for Gordie Howe, because he grew hockey,” Newton adds.
As he aged, Mr. Hockey suffered several strokes. But even with poor health, Gordie Howe remained a fixture at Joe Louis Arena.
Mr. Hockey was 88.