Gordon "Gordie" Howe, OC (born March 31, 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian hockey player who is often referred to as Mr. Hockey. He is generally regarded as the greatest right winger and one of the greatest players of all time.
Howe made his NHL debut in 1946 at the age of 18, playing right wing for the Detroit Red Wings. He quickly established himself as a great goal scorer and a gifted playmaker. Using his great physical strength, he was able to dominate the opposition in a career that spanned five decades. In a feat unsurpassed by any athlete, in any sport, Gordie Howe finished in the top five in scoring for twenty straight seasons, and the measure of his domination was shown in his scoring championship seasons, when he routinely led the league by margins not seen until the time of Wayne Gretzky.
Howe led Detroit to four Stanley Cups. During this time he and his linemates, Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay were known collectively as "The Production Line", both for their scoring and as an allusion to Detroit auto factories. The Red Wings were consistently contenders throughout the 1950s and early 1960s but began to slump in the late 60s.
After twenty-five years, a chronic wrist problem forced him to retire, and he took a job in the Red Wings front office. However, a year later he was offered a contract to play with the Houston Aeros of the newly formed World Hockey Association. Dissatisfied with not having any meaningful influence in the Red Wings' office, he underwent an operation to improve his wrist and make a return to hockey possible, and he led his new team to consecutive championships. In 1974, at the age of 46, Howe was selected as the WHA's most valuable player.
When the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979, the 51-year-old Howe signed with the Hartford Whalers for one final season, competing in all 80 games of the schedule. Another milestone in a remarkable career was reached in 1997 when Howe played professional hockey in a sixth decade. He was signed to a one-game contract by the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League and, almost 70 years old, made a stirring return to the ice for one shift.
His most productive seasons came during an era when scoring was difficult and checking was tight, yet Howe ranks third in NHL history with 1,850 total points made up of 801 goals and 1,049 assists. Careerwise, when his goals and assists from both the NHL and the WHA regular seasons are combined, he ranks first in goals with 975. Howe would also become good friends with Wayne Gretzky, who had idolized Howe as a young player, and who would later break many of Howe's scoring records and milestones.
At the time of his retirement, Mr. Hockey's professional totals, including playoffs, for the NHL and WHA combined, were first. He finished with 2421 games played, 1,071 goals, 1,518 assists, and 2,589 points. Wayne Gretzky has since passed him in goals (1,072), assists (2,297), and points (3,369), but not games played (1,788). It is unlikely that anyone will surpass Howe's total professional games played. Mark Messier retired only 11 NHL games behind Howe at 1,756, but this is still a far cry from 2,421 total professional games.
Howe has been married to Colleen Joffa since April 15, 1953; two of their sons, Marty and Mark, were his teammates on the Houston Aeros and the Hartford Whalers. Colleen is the founder of the Detroit Junior Red Wings, the first junior hockey team in the U.S.
- Art Ross Memorial Trophy - 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1963.
- Hart Memorial Trophy - 1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1963.
- Lester B. Patrick Award - 1967.
- Made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971.
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
- Played in the NHL All-Star Game 23 times.
- Gary Davidson Trophy - 1974.
- Played in the WHA All-Star Game 2 times.
- Most NHL regular season goals: 801 (broken by Wayne Gretzky)
- Most NHL regular season points: 1,850 (broken by Gretzky and Mark Messier)
- Most NHL regular season and playoff goals: 869 (broken by Gretzky)
- Most NHL regular season and playoff points: 2,010 (broken by Gretzky and Messier)
- Most NHL & WHA regular season goals: 975
- Most NHL & WHA regular season points: 2,358 (broken by Gretzky)
- Most NHL & WHA regular season and playoff goals: 1,071 (broken by Gretzky)
- Most NHL & WHA regular season and playoff assists: 1,518 (broken by Gretzky)
- Most NHL & WHA regular season and playoff points: 2,589 (broken by Gretzky)
- Most NHL regular season games played: 1,767
- Most NHL regular season and playoff games played: 1,924 (broken by Messier)
- Most NHL & WHA regular season games played: 2,186
- Most NHL & WHA regular season and playoff games played: 2,421
- Most NHL seasons played: 26
- Most NHL & WHA seasons played: 32
- Most decades played in by a professional athlete (including one game in the IHL): 6 (1946-98)
- Most NHL regular season goals by a right winger: 801
- Most NHL regular season assists by a right winger: 1,049
- Most NHL regular season points by a right winger: 1,850
- 7th in NHL all-time regular season assists: 1,049
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- Bart Simpson used a picture of Howe as part of a practical joke he pulls on Mrs. Krabappel in The Simpsons episode "Bart the Lover."
- A member of 11 different Halls of Fame.
- His name and nickname, as well as his wife's nickname, 'Mrs. Hockey', are registered trademarks.
- His jersey is worn by the character Cameron Frye in Ferris Beuller's Day Off.
- Gordie Howe hat trick
- List of NHL players
- List of NHL statistical leaders
- List of NHL seasons
- Hockey Hall of Fame
- List of members of the Hockey Hall of Fame
- Power forward (ice hockey)