One of the legends in ice hockey, Gordie Howe, you must have heard the name.
Gordie Howe was a legendary Canadian professional ice hockey player.
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, to a low-income family, Gordie played 26 seasons in the NHL.
The legend also played six seasons in the World Hockey Association.
Known as “Mr. Elbows” for his physical strength, Howe was physically advanced for his age. He was six feet tall in his mid-teens.
Howe’s physical play inspired the coining of the “Gordie Howe hat-trick”—a goal, an assist, and a fight. It is now a standard synonym in Hockey vocabulary.
Let’s slide into the article and learn more about the legendary ice hockey player.
Here are some quick facts about Gordie Howe.
|Date of Birth||March 31, 1928|
|Birth Place||Floral, Saskatchewan, Canada|
|Date of Demise||June 10, 2016 (aged 88)|
|Place of Death||Sylvania, Ohio, US|
|Father’s Name||Albert Howe|
|Mother’s Name||Katherine Schultz|
|Height||6 ft 0 inches|
|Profession||Canadian Ice Hockey Player|
|Associated Teams||Detroit Red Wings, Houston Aeros, New England Whalers, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Vipers|
|Achievements||6x Art Ross Trophy, 6x Hart Memorial Trophy, 23x NHL All-Star Game, 4x Stanley Cup|
|Spouse||Colleen (M. 1953- 2009)|
|Children||4; Marty, Mark, Murray (sons), Cathy (daughter)|
|Hair Color||Golden Brown|
|Net Worth||$10 million|
|Social Media||Not Available|
|Merch||Gordie: A Hockey Legend, Mr. Hockey: My Story|
Gordie Howe: Height and Weight
Howe stood tall at 6 feet and weighed 205 lbs.
Moreover, Howe was famous for his physical strength and was often called “Mr. Elbows.”
Gordie Howe: Childhood and Parents
Howe was born on March 31, 1928, in Floral, Saskatchewan, Canada, to parents Albert and Katherine. They were poor.
Howe’s father worked as a laborer. He would help his father in construction during the summers.
Mr. Elbows grew up with nine siblings.
Gordie was often sick as a child because of malnutrition.
Moreover, he was a shy and introverted person.
Howe’s younger brother, Vic, also played in the NHL. Vic appeared in 33 games with the New York Rangers between 1950 and 1955.
However, Vic died in 2015 in Moncton, New Brunswick, aged 85.
Howe was physically advanced for his age. The legend was already six feet tall in his mid-teens.
Moreover, Howe started organized hockey at the age of eight.
He quit school to work in construction and left his home at 16 to pursue hockey as a career.
Gordie Howe: Wife and Children
Howe met his wife, Colleen when she was only 17. The couple met at a bowling alley.
The couple got married on April 15, 1953, after dating for four years.
Gordie and Colleen had four children together. Their son, Marty, and Mark played with Howe in Houston Aeros and the New England Whalers.
Murray, their third son, is a radiologist by profession. They also have a daughter named Cathy, who lives in Texas.
Howe’s wife Colleen was also one of the founders of the Detroit Junior Red Wings. She helped her son, Mark, financially during his career.
Colleen suffered from Pick’s disease, which resulted in her death at the age of 76.
Gordie Howe: Career
Howe was an outstanding player. The legend was one of the few players who used straight sticks to shoot left or right-handed.
Gordie got into hockey at age 15 and got a chance to attend the training camp of the New York Rangers.
Rangers wanted to sign him, which would have given them rights to the NHL.
Howe would also have got a chance to play at Notre Dame, A Catholic school famous for producing good hockey players.
However, Mr. Elbows declined the offer from the Rangers and went back home to play hockey with his friends.
The hockey player then came into the radar of Detroit Red Wings scout Fred Pinkney and was invited to their camp.
This time, he was signed by the Red Wings to a “C” form. Howe was listed in the junior team, the Galt Red Wings.
Mr. Elbows was promoted to the Omaha Knights of the minor professional United States Hockey League (USHL), where he scored 48 points in 51 games as a 17-year old.
Detroit Red Wings
Howe made his NHL debut on 16th October of 1946, wearing number 17. He played as a right-winger for the Detroit Red Wings.
However, after the departure of Roy Conacher, Mr. Elbows was offered number 9 of Conacher. That would go on to be his iconic number.
Gordie won Detroit four Stanley Cup and kept Detroit in first place in the regular season for seven consecutive years.
During the season of 1948 to 1955, Howe and his linemates were collectively known as “The Production Line” for their scoring and the representation of Detroit auto factories.
The hockey player was often compared to the Montreal Canadiens’ Maurice Richard.
Both wore number 9 and were right-wingers.
World Hockey Association
Howe had to forcefully retire after the 1970-71 season due to a wrist problem.
He worked at the Red Wings front office before being offered a job as the head coach of the New York Islanders. However, he declined it.
Mr. Elbows then was offered a contract to play for the Houston Aeros in the newly formed World Hockey Association. The team also signed Howe’s sons Mark and Marty.
The hockey player won his team consecutive league championships in 1974 and 1975. Howe also won the Gary L. Davidson.
Further, the award is given to the most valuable player in the WHA.
Howe was with Houston until 1977 when he and his sons joined the New England Whalers.
The WHA folded in 1979, and the renamed Whalers and joined the NHL.
Howe played the 1979-80 NHL season. At 52 years and 10 days, he became the oldest man to play an NHL game.
Howe faced a dreadful injury when he fractured his skull and suffered a deadly concussion to his head.
Detroit Red Wings played Toronto Maple Leafs in a playoff game. Mr. Elbows collided with Toronto’s Ted Kennedy and banged his head into the sideboards.
Howe also broke his nose and his cheekbone and had to be rushed to the hospital. The surgeons had to operate Howe’s head to relieve the pressure on his brain.
“Mr. Elbows” had to be kept in the intensive care unit for few days and missed the rest of the playoffs.
Howe faced a lot of hits and got injured many times during his career. He was a feared player on the ice and was known for his fights.
Facial cuts and stitches were common in Howe’s era as there was no use of helmets.
Howe received over three hundred stitches in his face during his career.
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Howe was known for his strong play. Although he was shy in person, Mr. Elbows didn’t accept any abuse on the ice.
Howe’s physical play inspired the coining of the “Gordie Howe hat-trick”—a goal, an assist, and a fight.
However, Gordie himself achieved this hat-trick twice in his long career.
The leader in Gordie Howe hat-tricks is Rick Tocchet. He achieved the feat 18 times in his career.
Howe and Maurice Richard
Gordie was often compared to another hockey legend, Maurice Richard.
Both played as right-wingers and wore number 9 on their backs.
Richard and Howe came face to face for the first time in 1946. Maurice hit Howe with a hard elbow on the chin before getting knocked by Howe with a single punch.
Gordie Howe: Achievements
Gordie received many awards from notable organizations throughout his career.
The legend was awarded the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2002 and 2012.
Howe was also enlisted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
Moreover, his life was made into a feature film, “Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story,” which was released on April 28, 2013.
Howe’s nickname “Mr. Hockey” and his late wife’s nickname “Mrs. Hockey” are both trademarks.
His name and reputation allowed the WHA to gain much-needed legitimacy and popularity.
Further, Wayne Gretzky was one of the players who opted to join WHA instead of the NHL.
Wayne Gretzky idolized Gordie and later wore the number 99 as a tribute to his idol.
Howe became the only hockey player to compete in six decades at the professional level when he was signed to a one-game contract by the Detroit Vipers.
Moreover, Howe played USHL, NHL, WHA, and IHL from 1940 to the 1990s.
Gordie Howe: Net Worth
Howe surpassed various records throughout his long career. He represented various teams in NHL and the WHA.
Gordon was the third-highest paid player on the Detroit Red Wings squad with a salary of $45,000.
Howe scored more than 600 goals for the Wings before the board increased his salary to $100,000.
His teammate opposed this decision, Ted Lindsay, and the team blamed Colleen for the salary demand.
Howe was a well-mannered player who never questioned the salary the Detroit Red Wings owners paid him.
However, we can all agree that he deserves a lot more than $45,000 as salary.
Howe’s net worth was estimated to be around $10 million.
As Howe was born before the social media age, there aren’t any social media accounts of Mr. Elbows.
However, he would have rocked social media if he was born in the social media era.
Dementia and Death
Howe’s had dementia in his golden days.
After his wife’s death, their children took turns helping him. While staying at his daughter’s house in the USA, Howe suffered from a major stroke.
He, however, died on June 10, 2016, at his son Murray’s house in Ohio. He died at the age of 88.
Howe’s casket was brought to the home of the Detroit Red Wings.
It was kept there for a public visitation on June 14, 2016, from 9 a.m to 9 p.m in honor of his jersey number 9.
Scotty Bowman, Wayne Gretzky, and Al Kaline were pallbearers at his funeral.
Howe’s cremated remains were kept at the base of his statue outside the SaskTel Centre in Canada.
How old was Gordie Howe when he retired from hockey?
Gordie had to retire from the game due to a wrist injury forcefully. He was 43 years old. He, however, returned to the ice for a final time at age 69.
How many Stanley Cup did Gordie Howe win?
Gordie led his team, Detroit Red Wings, to four Stanley Cup Championships.