Gordie Howe (31.3.1928 – 10.6.2016) is often considered the most complete player to ever play the ice hockey and one the greatest player of all time. He played 26 seasons in the NHL and 6 seasons in the WHA. Gordie Howe still holds the NHL records for most games and seasons played.
In 1944, Gordie Howe was noticed by Detroit Red Wind Scout and was invited to their camp. He was signed by the Red Wings and assigned to their junior team the Galt Red Wings. In 1945 he was promoted to the Omaha Knight (USHL) – he scored 48 points in 51 games there.
Detroit Red Wings
Gordie Howe played his first 25 seasons with Detroit Red Wings. He made his NHL debut 16.10.1946 with Detroit Red Wings. He quickly became a great goalscorer and playmaker, but he had always willingness to fight. The term “Gordie Howe hat trick” (a goal, an assist and a fight for one game) came that way. Howe led Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships (1950. 1952, 1954 and 1955). Detroit was consistent Stanley Cup contenders through the 1950s and early 1960s – but after 1955 the Red Wings and Gordie Howe were only losing side (1956, 1961 and 1966 they lost in Stanley Cup Finals). After 1965-66 season Detroit Red Wings began to slump – a chronic wrist problem forced Howe to retire first time after 1970-71 season.
Gordie Howe underwent wrist surgery to make a return to hockey possible and he signed with the Houston Aeros (WHA) 1973. His sons Mark and Marty also played in the same team – Gordie Howe was 45 when he signed with Houston. Gordie Howe led his new team to consecutive WHA championships in 1974 and 1975 – in 1974 he won the Gary L. Davidson Trophy as a WHA’s Most Valuable Player. Howe played with the Aeros until 1977, when he joined New England Whalers.
Howe played with renamed Hartford Whalers the 1979-80 NHL season. He helped the Whalers to make the playoffs and played all 80 games. When Howe and the Whalers lost in playoffs 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens, Howe became the oldest man to play an NHL game (52 years and 10 days).
Other interesting stuff
Gordie Howe won 6 Hart Memorial Trophies (1952, 1953, 1957. 1958, 1960 and 1963) for a NHL’s most valuable player, 6 Art Ross Trophies (1951. 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957 and 1963) for most points in regular season. Gordie Howe has been chosen to the NHL First All-Star Team 12 times. Gordie Howe owns plenty of NHL records – for example: Most NHL regular season games played (1767), most NHL seasons played (26, tied with Chris Chelios) and most NHL All-Star game appearances (23). Gordie Howe played one shift in a 1997 game for Detroit Vipers of the IHL – playing professional hockey for a sixth decade. Gordie Howe died 10.6.2016 at the age of 88.