Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An Homage to Mr. Hockey

There are so many places where I could really get this blog going, but really, could there be any other place than starting with Gordie Howe? Right off the bat, I'll tell you that my exposure to Mr. Hockey (in a Red Wings uniform that is) was brief, and from what I saw, I didn't like the guy because he had this distinct penchant for mixing it up in the corners with his elbows (hey, that has a familiar ring to it!). I was in a roundabout way attached to this guy because all my hockey equipment was made by TruLine - a brand of hockey equipment put out by Eatons, endorsed by noneother than Mister Elbows himself.

Anyway, I do remember that in the spring of 1971, there was a center ice ceremony at Maple Leaf Gardens where Leaf captain Dave Keon presented Howe with a plaque to commemorate his service to the game of hockey. Really, what better time to make this presentation than to have it coincide with the Wings final appearance at the Gardens that year. Here's what they wrote about Howe in the album:
Two names - Jack Adams in the front office and Gordie Howe on the ice - dominate the history of the Detroit Red Wings...Many stars have helped Detroit to be the most successful of any NHL team based in the United States, but Adams and Howe are the biggest.

Howe is one of the "greats" in the history of hockey and the record book is a testimonial to his massive talents. The 1970/71 season was Howe's 25th in the NHL and, starting that record year, he owned every career record available - most games 1,624; most goals 763; most assists 994; most points 1,757.

If this didn't have the makings of setting up a Howe swan song, I don't know what would have. But being the feisty competitor he always was, he would prove that there was lots left in the tank.

A year or two later, Howe was convinced to join the upstart WHA and play on a line with his boys Mark and Marty for the Houston Aeros. Somehow, he kept going, and when the pieces of the WHA were merged with the NHL in 1979, there was Mr. Hockey still going strong and plying his trade for the New England Whalers, who were rebranded the Hartford Whalers when they made their NHL debut. In the irony of ironies, when the Whalers made their innaugural appearance at the Gardens in the 79/80 season they were led by three of the brightest NHL stars from another era: Bobby Hull (who was nearing the end of his career), and none other than Dave Keon and Gordie Howe - the same guys who played a prominent role in the center ice ceremony in the year of Power Players, 70/71.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Kevin Rittinger said...

Funny, I was just looking through my memorobilia as a kid. there it was my NHL Power Players Book. Still intact with a little scotch tape holding a few players in place where the glue just wasn't right. I still remember the day the final guy I needed....Bobby Orr was presented to me on my March birthday...I turned bobby Orr's number x 2 = 8.

Okay why do I still have it? It is an answer I do not know. Perhaps it is something to show my grandchildren...but it will be awhile as my oldest of two daughters is only 13.

Oh the memories of collecting....trying to convince dad to drive further, use more gas, so we could get another pack. Perhaps it's Nick Resno that I needed to thank....he owned the Esso Station in our neighborhood and always snuck me an extra pack when somebody who did not want them with their fuel left them behind...

Thanks dad, for buying the gas, thanks Nick for the extr packs....and thanks for letting me share my memory here on your blog.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Scott Ross said...

Just googled to see what a complete Power Player book would be worth & found your site. Just a quick Mr. Hockey story for you. In 1999, Gordie was at my Golf Club for a fundraiser (typical Gordie) & I was able to get his jersey during the auction. He signed it personally to me and afterwards with the jersey on, I got a picture with me giving him an elbow. Well as luck would have it, Gordie came back to London for another fundraiser a few years later. So I got a ticket for the fundraiser & went with a 8x10 of the picture to get it signed. I put the photo on the table, Gordie looked at it, looked at me, looked at it again & said "You're still alive to show me this" Needless to say he signed it "Keep your elbows down or else" Gordie Howe Mr. Hockey #9. The jersey with the photo now hang front & center in my Mancave.
Cheers Scott Ross
SilverStar Mountain, BC

4:28 PM  
Blogger Scott Ross said...

Just googled to see what a complete Power Player book would be worth & found your site. Just a quick Mr. Hockey story for you. In 1999, Gordie was at my Golf Club for a fundraiser (typical Gordie) & I was able to get his jersey during the auction. He signed it personally to me and afterwards with the jersey on, I got a picture with me giving him an elbow. Well as luck would have it, Gordie came back to London for another fundraiser a few years later. So I got a ticket for the fundraiser & went with a 8x10 of the picture to get it signed. I put the photo on the table, Gordie looked at it, looked at me, looked at it again & said "You're still alive to show me this" Needless to say he signed it "Keep your elbows down or else" Gordie Howe Mr. Hockey #9. The jersey with the photo now hang front & center in my Mancave.
Cheers Scott Ross
SilverStar Mountain, BC

4:29 PM  
Blogger ChoiceEnvironment said...

Mr. Hockey was originally my great Uncle Lloyd Turner because of the charity and volunteer time spent developing canadian hockey leagues and creating the original teams for Edmonton and Calgary ( Tigers )
meerly saying

1:17 PM  

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