Gordie Howe

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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.

Playing Career

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.

Awards


Career Records

  • 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

Career Statistics

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1945-46 Omaha Knights USHL 51 22 26 48 53 6 2 1 3 15
1946-47 Detroit Red Wings NHL 58 7 15 22 52 5 0 0 0 18
1947-48 Detroit Red Wings NHL 60 16 28 44 63 10 1 1 2 11
1948-49 Detroit Red Wings NHL 40 12 25 37 57 11 8 3 11 19
1949-50 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 35 33 68 69 1 0 0 0 7
1950-51 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 43 43 86 74 6 4 3 7 4
1951-52 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 47 39 86 78 8 2 5 7 2
1952-53 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 49 46 95 57 6 2 5 7 2
1953-54 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 33 48 81 109 12 4 5 9 31
1954-55 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 29 33 62 68 11 9 11 20 24
1955-56 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 38 41 79 100 10 3 9 12 8
1956-57 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 44 45 89 72 5 2 5 7 6
1957-58 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 33 44 77 40 4 1 1 2 0
1958-59 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 32 46 78 57 -- -- -- -- --
1959-60 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 28 45 73 46 6 1 5 6 4
1960-61 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 23 49 72 30 11 4 11 15 10
1961-62 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 33 44 77 54 -- -- -- -- --
1962-63 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 38 48 86 100 11 7 9 16 22
1963-64 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 26 47 73 70 14 9 10 19 16
1964-65 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 29 47 76 104 7 4 2 6 20
1965-66 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 29 46 75 83 12 4 6 10 12
1966-67 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 25 40 65 53 -- -- -- -- --
1967-68 Detroit Red Wings NHL 74 39 43 82 53 -- -- -- -- --
1968-69 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 44 59 103 58 -- -- -- -- --
1969-70 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 31 40 71 58 4 2 0 2 2
1970-71 Detroit Red Wings NHL 63 23 29 52 38 -- -- -- -- --
1973-74 Houston Aeros WHA 70 31 69 100 46 13 3 14 17 34
1974-75 Houston Aeros WHA 75 34 65 99 84 13 8 12 20 20
1975-76 Houston Aeros WHA 78 32 70 102 76 17 4 8 12 31
1976-77 Houston Aeros WHA 62 24 44 68 57 11 5 3 8 11
1977-78 New England Whalers WHA 76 34 62 96 85 14 5 5 10 15
1978-79 New England Whalers WHA 58 19 24 43 51 10 3 1 4 4
1979-80 Hartford Whalers NHL 80 15 26 41 42 3 1 1 2 2
1997-98 Detroit Vipers IHL 1 0 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- --
NHL Totals 1767 801 1049 1850 1685 157 68 92 160 220
WHA Totals 419 174 334 508 399 78 28 43 71 115


Trivia

See also

External Links

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