Detroit Red Wing legend Gordie Howe turns 80 today and the Red Wings paid tribute to him during their Sunday game against the Nashville Predators. The Wings won 1-0 in OT and, depending on the outcome of the San Jose Sharks game tonight, will wrap up the President’s Cup with the most wins in a season.
Gordie Howe has been a legend in Detroit ever since his first season with the Red Wings in 1946-47 and ended with the 1970-1971 season. Howe went on to play with World Hockey Association (WHA) teams in Houston (Aeros) and then the New England Whalers. Howe played again in the NHL when the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979 and the New England Whalers became an NHL team…now known as the Carolina Hurricanes.
For me, Gordie Howe is a great reminder of how great the NHL used to be and one of the big reasons I can only root for the Red Wings. The NHL has such a rich history and yet has seen such a decline in recent years with many people in this country thinking the game is “a fight where a hockey game started.” While fighting is part of the game the focus on this by those that don’t know the game well is incredibly shortsighted. Many times I wish I could have witnessed games in the ‘40s and ‘50s at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit…no helmets and facemasks and watching the exploits of the “Production Line.” Alas that isn’t to be…but I can still appreciate the past through players like Gordie Howe.
Happy Birthday Gordie!