Howe remembered for his humanity
By Darren Lum
Published June 14, 2016
Canada was his home and hockey was his passion, but for all the legendary professional hockey statistics and his on ice toughness, humanity will now and forever be his legacy.
Gordie Howe, also known as Mr. Hockey, died this past Friday. He was 88.
The former National Hockey League's referee-in-chief of officials and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Scotty Morrison, who has made a home up here in Haliburton, remembers Howe for a few incidents off the ice.
While cottaging with his two boys and his wife, Morrison received a call from Howe about inviting his sons to his hockey camp, even putting them up at his house with wife Colleen while they attended.
“They go down. I go to pick them up. All the way home – Perry would be about five or six – Mr. Howe says this. Mr. Howe says that. We get back to Etobicoke. He jumps out of the car and goes upstairs [and comes down] he's got four Detroit Red Wings decals. So I'm watching him. He goes outside I think he's going to put them on his bike. He's standing at the back of my big Oldsmobile station wagon. He was going to put them on the back window. I run out, saying, Perry, you can't put them on there.'Mr. Howe said' ... I don't care what Mr. Howe said. I see Gordie about a week later [at Maple Leafs Gardens]. I say, 'Nice going.' ... He just started to laugh and that was him.”
He adds Howe was as gracious as he was skilled. Morisson remembers one of Howe's teammates didn't want to give an autograph to a child.
“I guess Gordie turned to the player and really just [stared]. 'When that little guy wants your autograph you just sign it,'” he said.
Morrison said when he's asked who the best player of all time in the NHL he says, “without a doubt No. 9.”
Although Wayne Gretzky surpassed Howe in most goals scored in the NHL with 894, Howe remains second with 801 in an NHL-record 26 seasons. The Gordie Howe hat-trick, a goal, an assist and a fight. It was a hallmark of his career with a laundry list of hallmarks. He continues to hold records that will probably never fall. His career spanned some six decades.
His loss was felt all over, expressed publicly in tweets and posts by those that met him, who call Haliburton County home.
In a series of tweets Haliburton's Matt Duchene, an established NHL player with the Colorado Avalanche, spoke of the passing with sadness, reverence and respect.
In an email response to the Echo, Duchene wrote: I got to chat with him and meet him after one of the biggest nights of my life, when I scored my first NHL goal and then after was told I wouldn't be going back to junior [hockey]. It was essentially the night I made the NHL. Receiving a [Red Wings] jersey from him signed to me was so nice of him. The way he played on the ice and the way he humbly carried himself off the ice was what made him such a legend.
It was a sad week of goodbyes, recognized by West Guilford's Bernie Nicholls, who was an established sniper in the NHL. Boxing legend Muhummed Ali, like Howe, were more than the skill and brawn they displayed in the ring and on the ice.
Nicholls posted to the web to express his feelings on Ali and Howe through www.viktre.com under the headline Men who have changed the game, and a split image of Muhummad Ali with a quote, “The man who has no imagination has no wings” on the left, and Gordie Howe on right with “I'm really just a lucky old farm boy.”
“It's a sad day today, we say goodbye to Mr. Hockey. One of the all time greats. I was fortunate to do an autograph outing with him. I was with him for over three hours! I had a great visit with him. He was just an unbelievable person,” he wrote. “It was also Ali's funeral today. Saying goodbye to two legends is not easy. These two men will always be remembered.”