Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4, 1980: The Curtain Closes on Gordie Howe's Career

     On June 4, 1980, the storied career of Gordie Howe came to close. The 52-year-old known as "Mr. Hockey" had first took the ice as a member of the Detroit Red Wings in 1946, and for the next 25 years he wore the winged wheel across his chest. During his time in the Motor City, Howe laid claim to six scoring titles, six league MVP awards, and four Stanley Cup Championship titles.

     Howe's playing days in Detroit came to an end after the '70-'71 season. At 41 years of age Howe looked to be joining the ranks of the front office in Detroit. Two years into front office job, Howe realized his office was on the ice, and found an opportunity of a lifetime with the World Hockey Association's Houston Aeros where he could play alongside his two sons Marty and Mark. Gordie, along with his sons joined the Hartford Whalers before the '73-'74 season began, which is where he spent the last three seasons of his career. His final season included a return to the NHL, as the Whalers joined the league after the WHA ceased to exist in 1979.

      Howe is the only man who can boast that he played in five different decades. He joined the ranks of the Hockey Hall of Fame long before he hung up his skates, as he was inducted in '72, after he "retired" from the game. Howe owned the NHL points record with 2,857, and the goals record with 801 when he retired. Today, only Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier have scored more points, and only Gretzky has scored more goals than Howe. Gretzky's goal total sits at 894. If Howe had played those six WHA seasons in the NHL, he might still own the record that Gretzky possesses today.

Stats of a legend: 

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