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Penguins, Sharks pay tribute to Gordie Howe for Game 6

On Sunday the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins will play the first NHL game since Friday’s death of hockey icon Gordie Howe.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final will no doubt be an emotional affair for the league with tributes likely to be made in and around the game.

Howe, who died at the age of 88, was known as “Mr. Hockey” and was one of the NHL’s greatest ambassadors.

During warmups before the game, the Penguins and Sharks will wear special No. 9 decals on their helmets to honor Howe.

Before the game, the Sharks set up their arena with Howe’s famous No. 9 designed into the stands at SAP Center.

The last several days there have been several memories shared by the Sharks and the Penguins about Howe. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford played with Howe and talked about the time they spent with one another.

“Of course, your first year in the league is exciting enough, but when you enter that room with such a great player like him it was special,” Rutherford said. “He was a guy that in some ways was hard to describe. He just had a special way about him. As a teammate and you looked around the room, if somebody was struggling with something, in his own way he’d go by and say something to him. [It] might not be long and he may not say ‘Hey, do you want to go somewhere and talk?’ He’d walk by and kind of catch you from behind; he’d give you a little poke or a little elbow and he’d say a few words, which meant a lot. His character and his leadership were second to none.”  

Howe modeled the Sharks jerseys when they were unveiled to the public in 1991.

“We always appreciated he thought it important enough to attend and it sort of developed a connection between us and the world of hockey and the fact that even though we were the young squirts on the block we had an appreciation for hockey’s history,” said former Sharks executive Matt Levine.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby called Howe a “role model” and Sharks forward Joe Thornton “a great man."

Both Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and Sharks coach Peter DeBoer were asked about Howe in their teleconferences Friday and both spoke glowingly about Howe's influence on the game. 

Said DeBoer, "Tragic day. To think that we lost Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe in the same week or 10‑day span is incredible. You talk about two guys that were torchbearers for their sport over the last century, that would be the name for hockey and the name for boxing. I think it's a sad day. But I'm actually sitting here watching the Muhammad Ali funeral. I think it's also a celebration of their life, what they accomplished, how many people they touched."

Said Sullivan, “I never really had the opportunity to know Gordie. But obviously the impact that he's had on the hockey community I think goes without saying. He's been a great ambassador for the game. He's been a great role model for all of us that have grown up with the game. Obviously it's sad news to hear of his passing.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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