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Added June 14th, 2016 by Ian
NHL

Sports world mourns the passing of ‘Mr Hockey’ Gordie Howe

The world lost arguably the greatest ever boxer in history last week when Muhammad Ali passed away and this week arguably the best ice hockey player in history has joined him. Eighty-eight-year old Gordie Howe of Floral, Saskatchewan passed away at his son’s home in Ohio early Friday morning after being diagnosed with dementia back in 2012. He also suffered a major stroke two years ago. Howe, who was known as Mr Hockey, set most of the NHL’s scoring records during his career until Wayne Gretzky came along and eclipsed most of them. The Hall of Fame right-winger broke into the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings as an 18-year-old in 1946 and didn’t hang up his skates for good until 1980 when he was 52.

Howe was considered a true gentleman off the ice, but was one of the meanest to ever play the game. In fact, the Gordie Howe hat trick was the name given to a goal, assists and fight in the same game. 
Howe was as strong and consistent as they come and managed to score a minimum of 23 goals a season for a record 22 straight years. He won six Art Ross Trophies for leading the league in scoring, including four in a row, and also won the Hart Memorial Trophy a dozen times for being the league’s most valuable player. He also skated on four Stanley Cup-winning squads with the Red Wings. Howe, scored 801 regular-season goals in the NHL, which is second all-time to Gretzky’s 894. However, he also played six seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with his sons Mark and Marty and added another 174 goals in that league.

Therefore, he scored a combined 1,071 regular-season goals during his 32-year career, with 26 seasons being in the NHL. Howe had retired from the NHL in 1971 and then joined the WHA two years later until 1979. Even though he was just 6-feet tall and about 205 lbs, Howe was a physically intimidating presence on the ice who created a lot of room for himself with his stick and infamous elbows. He took care of himself on the ice and after he brutally beat Lou Fontinato of the New York Rangers in a fight in 1959 he was rarely challenged to drop his gloves anymore. Howe’s career was nearly over as soon as it began though as he nearly died after suffering a brain injury on the ice in the 1950 postseason.

Howe had attempted to body check Ted Kennedy of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but went crashing into the boards and struck his head on the ice. Howe survived after doctors drilled a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure. Howe became somewhat of an iron man later in his career and missed just two contests between 1961 and 1970. In total, he was able to dress for 97 per cent of his squad’s games. He proved that age didn’t matter as much as skill as he was 40 years old when he registered his first 100-point campaign. He then scored 34 goals in the WHA for the New England Whalers when he was 50 and chipped in with 15 goals and 412 points in his final season with the Hartford Whalers after he returned to the NHL for one more year in 1979/80.

Howe was named to 12 NHL First All Star Teams and was a Second All Star team member nine times. When Howe retired, he led the NHL in career goals with 801, assists with 1,049 and points with 1,850. He also had 68 goals and 92 assists for 160 points in 157 NHL playoff games and another 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points in 78 WHA playoff outings and won a pair of WHA championships with Houston. Howe also played in an NHL record 1,767 regular-season contests and that record still stands today. Howe still holds numerous other NHL records, awards and achievements and was rightly considered to be the best all-round hockey player ever.

 
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