Sunday, November 10, 2013

Howe Sets NHL Mark

On Nov. 10, 1963, Gordie Howe set the career NHL goal scoring mark.

ESPN reported Howe was battling injuries when he scored career goal 545, breaking a tie with legendary player Maurice Richard.   
 The Detroit Red Wings hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on Howe's home ice. 
The fans gave their hero an 20-minute standing ovation.

Howe's mark would last until Wayne Gretzky broke it March 23, 1989, when Gretzky scored career goal 802.

Howe made his NHL debut in 1946 at the age of 18, playing right wing for the Detroit Red Wings, for which he wore no. 17 as a rookie. 
When Roy Conacher moved on to the Chicago Blackhawks after the 1946–47 season, however, Howe was offered Conacher's no. 9, which he would wear for the rest of his career (although he had not requested the change. 
Howe accepted it when he was informed that "9" would entitle him to a lower Pullman berth on road trips).

He quickly established himself as a great goal scorer and a gifted playmaker with a willingness to fight. 
In fact, Howe fought so often in his rookie season that coach Jack Adams told him, "I know you can fight. Now can you show me you can play hockey?"  
The term Gordie Howe hat trick (consisting of a goal, an assist, and a fight) was coined in reference to his penchant for fighting. 
It should be noted, however, that Howe himself only recorded two Gordie Howe hat tricks in his career, on Oct. 10, 1953 and March 21, 1954.

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 hockey player, he finished in the top five in scoring for twenty straight seasons. 
Howe also scored 20 or more goals in 22 consecutive seasons between 1949 and 1971, an NHL record.

Howe is most famous for his scoring prowess, physical strength, and career longevity. He is the only player to have competed in the NHL in five (1940s through 1980s) different decades.

 A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.

In 1998, The Hockey News released their List of Top 100 NHL Players of All Time and listed Howe third overall, ahead of Mario Lemieux, but behind Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. 

Of the list, Orr was quoted as regarding Howe as the greatest player.

On April 10, 2007, Howe was honoured with the unveiling of a new bronze statue in Joe Louis Arena. The statue is 12 feet tall and weighs about 4,500 pounds. 

The man who was commissioned to create the art was Omri Amrany. The statue contains all of Howe's stats and history. Another statue of Howe was erected in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on the corner of 20th Street and 1st Ave. 

He is depicted wearing a Detroit Red Wings sweater. 

The statue has since been relocated to the Credit Union Centre.

He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

In February 2011, various groups have proposed naming the Detroit River International Crossing bridge, a proposed bridge that will connect Detroit and Windsor by linking Highway 401 in Ontario with Interstate 75 and Interstate 94 in Michigan, in honor of Gordie Howe.  

Gordie Howe is a prime choice, because he is a native Canadian and his long affiliation with Detroit. This name is backed by Canadian politicians and Michigan governor Rick Snyder.