Get to Know Gordie Howe, the Mr Hockey

People with exceptional abilities will always leave their mark in their respective industries. Thus, decades and even centuries after, everyone still recognizes the names Leonardo Da Vinci, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Albert Einstein. Athletes are no different, and even non-fanatics would know of, or at the very least have come across, names like Michael Jordan, Pele, and Babe Ruth.

For hockey aficionados, one name that definitely stands out is Gordie Howe. He has left such a record that he is in fact known as Mr. Hockey. A veteran of the National Hockey League (NHL) for 33 years, his first season started after the end of World War II, and his last season overlapped with the rookie year of another big name in hockey, Wayne Gretzky.

At the young age of 15, Gordie was already physically developed enough to be accepted to attend the Winnipeg training camp of the New York Rangers. However, his emotions may have had some catching up to do as he left before the camp was over out of homesickness, heading back to Saskatchewan. The next year saw him with enough emotional maturity to match his physical development, and he gave it one more shot, this time with the Detroit Red Wings. Things worked out much better this time, and his ambidexterity caught the attention of the team management.

By the time he was 18, Gordie Howe was considered sufficiently adept to be fielded by the Detroit Red Wings for the 1946 ñ 1947 professional season. He did well enough to have scored in his first game. An interesting trivia, however, is that he apparently did not feel certain of his future in the professional hockey arena that he kept mementos of his first year in a scrapbook, probably as evidence for future claims. Obviously, his fear was unfounded and his first season ended with his name already gaining recognition among both fans and the professionals.

He may not be considered huge in today's standards but, at 6' and slightly more than 200 pounds, he was then one of the heftier men in the hockey circuit. He built a reputation for knowing how to use his mass to win a fight. More importantly, he showed consistent excellence in the important areas of the sport, from battles in the corners to scoring to player awards, as evidenced by sustaining a spot as one of the top 5 NHL scorers for 20 consecutive years. That's Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe.