Gordon "Gordie" Howe, OC (born March 31, 1928) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. From 1946 to 1980, Howe played twenty-six seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and six seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA); his first twenty-five seasons were spent with the Detroit Red Wings. Nicknamed "Mr. Hockey", Howe is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time. A twenty-three time NHL All-Star, Howe held many of the sport's scoring records until they were broken in the 1990s by Wayne Gretzky. Howe continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played.
Howe was recruited by the Red Wings and made his NHL debut in 1946. Howe led the league in scoring each year from 1950 to 1954, then again in 1957 and 1963. He ranked among the top ten in league scoring for twenty-one consecutive years, and set a league record for points in a season (95) in 1953. Howe won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings four times, won six Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player, and won six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.
Howe retired in 1971 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the next year. However, he came back two years later to join his sons Mark and Marty on the Houston Aeros of the WHA. Although in his mid-40s, Howe scored over 100 points twice in six years. He made a brief return to the NHL in 1979–80, playing one season with the Hartford Whalers, then retired at the age of 52.
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 different decades (1940s through 1980s). Although he only achieved the feat twice in his own career, Howe became the namesake of the "Gordie Howe hat trick": a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
By Dean Hanley
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