Various officials honor, mourn Gordie Howe

Hockey icon Gordie Howe, center, is shown in a 1963 file photo huddled near the boards with teammates during a break in a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens. Howe died early Friday morning. He was 88. Howe is regarded as one of the best hockey players of all time -- known for his toughness, durability and scoring acumen. (AP file)

Governor Rick Snyder is among those mourning the loss of Gordie Howe, the long-time Red Wings player known as “Mr. Hockey.” He died today at the age of 88.

In a written statement, Snyder said Howe “could also be known as ‘Mr. Detroit’ or ‘Mr. Michigan’ for the years of thrills he gave Red Wings fans in our state and around the world. He represented Detroit with pride and class. In a city that cherishes its many champions, Howe was perhaps the most beloved.”

Snyder reminded everyone that the new bridge that will span Michigan and Canada will be named the “Gordie Howe International Bridge” – which Snyder says “will stand as a united symbol between his home country and his adopted country, representing the teamwork he always embodied.”

Meanwhile, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says Gordie Howe was the greatest Red Wing of all time and may have been greatest player in NHL history.

“He was one of the greatest players, if not the greatest, in the history of the National Hockey League and the greatest Red Wing of all time,” Holland said Friday, after Howe died at his daughter’s home in Ohio.

“He was a big power forward, one of the biggest players of his time, with as much skill and toughness as anybody who ever played. As a human being, he was incredible. He loved to be around people and to make them laugh. He was an incredible ambassador for the sport. This is a sad day for hockey.”

And NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr said the game of hockey has lost an “icon” with the death of Gordie Howe.

“‘Mr. Hockey’ as he was known to legions of fans, was a true legend who had an immense impact on the game, the players who followed him and the fans who revered him,” Fehr said. “On behalf of the Players and staff of the NHLPA, we join Howe’s family, friends and fans on mourning his loss.”

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