Red Wings legend Gordie Howe has died at the age of 88.
Howe, also known as “Mr. Hockey,” revolutionized the sport during his career that spanned six decades.
His longevity was something players growing up admired. He is the only player to have played in the NHL in five different decades, being from the 1940s until the 1980s. Eventually, he played in a sixth decade with one game for the Detroit Vipers in 1997 at nearly 70 years old.
Howe entered the NHL with the Red Wings at the age of 18. He played with them for 25 years until he retired, for the first time, after the 1970-71.
During his Red Wings career, he played in 1,687 games, scoring 913 goals, 1,243 assists for a total of 2,156 points. He also won four NHL Championships in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955.
A statue unveiled at Joe Louis Arena in his honor in 2007.
When Howe finally retired, at the age of 52, he held the record for games played, 2,421, goals, 2,071, assists, 1518 and points, 2,589.
Since then, Wayne Gretzky has passed him in goals, assists and points. Howe still holds the record for game played and games played with one team.
It was widely known that Gretzky greatly respected Howe, and actually wore #9 in juniors, before switching to No. 99 later.
Throughout his career, Howe won numerous awards. He won the Art Ross Trophy for the top point scorer six times in 1950-1953, 1956 and 1962. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the league MVP six times in 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1959 and 1962. He also played in every NHL All-Star Game from 1948-1955, 1957-1965, 1967-1971 and in 1980.
- He was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
- Howe still holds the record for over a dozen categories including:
- Most NHL regular season games: 1,767
- Most NHL regular season games with one team: 1,687
- Most NHL seasons played: 26 (tied with Chris Chelios)
- Most consecutive NHL 20-goal seasons: 22 (1949-1971)
- First player to reach 1,500 games played in NHL History
- Oldest player to play in the NHL: 52 years, 11 days old.
- Most NHL All-Star Game appearances: 23
In 2014, Howe's family moved him to Texas to live with their sister, and shortly after, his condition quickly took a dive.
Then, Dr. Maynard Howe (no relation to Gordie), is the CEO of Stemedia, a stem cell research company based in San Diego. He and his co-workers told the hockey legend's family they would perform a revolutionary stem cell treatment if Murray and his siblings would send Gordie to Mexico.
FDA regulations at the time stated any stem cell treatment to a person who had suffered a stroke must occur six months after said stroke, Maynard explained. Mexico had less strict regulations, and the Howe family was ready to take a chance.
The Howes were out of options, and the $30,000 treatment wasn't going to cost them a dime. The risk, after studying the progressions of stem cell work, was worth it to the family.
So the Howe brothers put their father onto a plane, lifting him into his seat on a plane to Mexico.