Gordie Howe, the legend who became so synonymous with his beloved sport that he was “Mr. Hockey,” has died.
He was 88 years old.
Howe died Friday morning in Toledo, Ohio. He had been staying there with his son, Murray.
“Today is a sad day for the Detroit Red Wings and the entire hockey world as together we mourn the loss of one of the greatest hockey players of all-time,” Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement. “The Red Wings organization and the National Hockey League would not be what they are today without Gordie Howe. There is no nickname more fitting for him than “Mr. Hockey.” He embodied on and off the ice what it meant to be both a Red Wing and a Detroiter. He was tough, skilled, and consistently earned success at the highest level. His achievements are numerous and his accomplishments immeasurable. It is truly a blessing to have had him both in our organization and our city for so many years. He will be deeply missed.”
Howe practically is synonymous with the Wings: He played for them from 1946 to 1971, leading them to Stanley Cup championships in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955. The team retired his jersey in 1972, and a statue of him graces the concourse at the Joe.
Was he the greatest NHL player before Gretzky? It’s hard to argue with. A 6-time MVP and a physical two-way winger who led the league in scoring 6 times, his peak value is up there. And given that his last MVP award was at age 34 and he was still a credible NHL player at age 51, his career value is off the charts. He remains one of the greatest. And his son Mark, who finally got elected to the Hall of Fame a couple years ago and should have gone in much sooner, is one of the most underrated players ever.