Known simply as Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe played 26 seasons in the National Hockey League from 1946 until 1971. Twenty-five of those seasons were with one team, the Detroit Red Wings, for whom he wore the number nine on his red and white jersey.
Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame just one year after leaving Detroit, but in 1973 the ambidextrous winger was back on the ice, this time in the fledging World Hockey Association for the Houston Aeros. Howe played four seasons with the Aeros, leading them to championships in two, and he capped his incredible career with three years in a Whalers uniform.
In his last season with the Whalers, 1979-1980, the Hartford-based team was made a part of the NHL. Howe played in all 80 of the team’s regular-season games, and he left the sport at age 52, the oldest player ever to suit up for the NHL.
Most of Howe’s scoring records were broken by Wayne Gretzky, who chose 99 as his Edmonton Oilers number as an homage to Howe. But Howe still holds numerous records relating to his amazing longevity.
Another milestone unlikely to be equaled is his place in history as the only player to be on the same team with two of his sons. Before Howe joined the Aeros in 1973, the team had already drafted his sons Mark (a top prospect) and Marty. Howe played with them in both Houston and Hartford.
Howe’s final appearance on the ice came in the 1997-1998 season as a member of the International Hockey League’s Detroit Vipers. He played one game at age 69, becoming the only player to skate professionally in six separate decades, which in Howe’s case meant the 1940s through the 1990s.
Because Howe got such an early start and lasted so long in the sport, there is a great deal of vintage hockey memorabilia associated with his years as a player. About the only thing you won’t find is a Howe rookie card because no one was printing hockey cards in the mid-to-late 1940s...
A Canadian company called Parkhurst produced the first Howe hockey card—it dates from the 1951-1952 season. Parkhurst was the only game in town until 1954, when Topps got into the hockey act.
Interestingly, a vintage Topps Howe hockey card from 1954, even one in mediocre condition, is more collectible than a higher-grade Parkhurst Howe hockey card from the same year. Also prized is the 1969 O-Pee-Chee card of Howe, which features the smiling veteran next to his nickname.
Other types of vintage Howe hockey collectibles include signed pucks, sticks, and jerseys—some collectors want one jersey from each of the teams Howe played for, but Red Wings jerseys are the most popular.
Paper collectibles, from tickets to programs, are also fan favorites. A pair of tickets from the night Howe broke Maurice “Rocket” Richards’ scoring record is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. As for programs, teams all over the league routinely put Howe’s photo on the covers of game-day programs, since Howe was often the main draw.
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Recent News: Gordie Howe Memorabilia
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MDOT starts to buy land in Delray for Gordie Howe BridgeDetroit Free Press, May 22nd
The much-delayed process of buying land in southwest Detroit for the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge is finally about to begin in earnest. The Michigan Department of Transportation has begun sending letters to residents of Detroit's Delray...Read more
Here's what's trending: Clinton emails; Gordie Howe and stem cells; woman dies ...AL.com, May 19th
A USA Today story looks at two former pro sports greats -- hockey legend Gordie Howe and NFL Hall of Famer John Brodie -- and the stem cell treatment they received after both suffered massive strokes. According to the report, they have had near...Read more
Gordie Howe still at center of stem cell controversyDetroit Free Press, May 18th
TIJUANA, Mexico -- John Brodie decided he had nothing to lose. So did Gordie Howe, who was losing his will to live. After each suffered massive strokes, both sports heroes barely could walk, talk or take care of themselves. "He was definitely close to...Read more
The 'Stevies': Mike Babcock, Gordie Howe and moreDetroit Free Press, May 16th
To Red Wings great Gordie Howe, who's having the new Detroit-Windsor bridge named after him, a great idea that both the U.S. and Canada can get behind. Have they designed it yet? Because in honor of the legend of Gordie, they ought to put some corners ...Read more
A perfect tribute to extra-special star Gordie HoweThe Detroit News, May 16th
Who would have thought -- an international bridge named for Gordie Howe? Nothing more appropriate, because Gordie has had his own bridge for decades and was the primary cause that so many former NHL players, now senior citizens, have bridges of ...Read more
Gordie Howe bridge: 'Brilliant branding'? One CEO says soCrain's Detroit Business, May 14th
“This is brilliant branding,” said Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group LLC, via email. “From a business perspective, they gave a memorable name to what has been a fuzzy concept." The decision announced ...Read more
'Mr. Hockey' gets his own bridgeDetroit Free Press, May 14th
The qualities that made Gordie Howe "Mr. Hockey" are the same leaders from the U.S. and Canada want in their new Detroit-Windsor bridge: strength, endurance, excellence. Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Rick Snyder met along the ...Read more
International bridge to be named after legendary Gordie HoweSI.com, May 14th
Forget Mr. Hockey. Next time you see Gordie Howe, you can call him Mr. Bridge. A planned span crossing the Detroit River and connecting Windsor, Ont. to Detroit will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge in honor of the 87-year-old Red Wings ...Read more