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The hockey community remembers Gordie Howe: Live tribute

[Ed. Note: To quantify the impact Gordie Howe had on hockey in one post is nearly impossible. Instead, we turn to the hockey community to celebrate his life in the wake of his passing. We'll be updating this post all day as the tributes to Mr. Hockey come in. Post your remembrances of the legend in the comments.]

12:44 p.m. ET - First post

The outpouring of tributes to Gordie Howe is immense. Here are just some of the first we're capturing on the blog. Check back for more throughout the day.

From the Bill Roose with the Detroit Red Wings

Along with boxing legend Joe Louis and Tigers great Ty Cobb, Howe helped make up Detroit’s iconic sports trinity during the 20th century. He still holds franchise records for goals (786), points (1,809) and games played (1,687).

A proficient scorer and ferocious competitor, Howe anchored one of the greatest forward lines in league history. With his Production Line teammates Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel –and later with Alex Delvecchio –Howe became one of the most-dominant goal scorers in the history of the sport. He led the league in scoring six times, won the Hart Trophy, as the NHL’s most-valuable player, six times, and made 23 NHL All-Star Game appearances –the last at Joe Louis Arena less than two months shy of his 52nd birthday, in 1980.

Off the ice, Howe was very approachable, humble, funny, and down-to-earth.

• From Sean McIndoe of The Guardian:

Gordie Howe embodied very best of hockey's sacred and profane qualities. No one mastered the skill and violence that represent hockey’s strange yin and yang as wholly as Gordie Howe, whose place in the sport’s lore is truly singular.

• From The Associated Press

Howe shattered records, threw elbows and helped the Detroit Red Wings win four Stanley Cups, becoming an idol to Wayne Gretzky and countless other Canadians while also helping the sport attract American fans.

• From Howe's obituary by John Chaput of The Globe & Mail

Maurice Richard was more dramatic on the ice in the 1940s and ’50s, Bobby Orr more sensational in the 1960s and ’70s, Wayne Gretzky more creative in the 1980s, but Gordie Howe was as towering a presence in his day as they were in theirs – and his career intersected all of theirs.

• Photo essay from CBC News:

From Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Phil Esposito, the Tampa Bay Lightning founder and Hall of Famer, talked a few years back about Mr. Howe, his boyhood hero.

"He was the end all, be all," Esposito said. "He was the guy."

And Esposito, has a permanent reminder of Mr. Howe, a scar above his lip.

You see, Esposito said Mr. Howe's moniker of "Mr. Hockey," was well-deserved, but so was his nickname of "Elbows." Esposito found that out the hard way the first time he faced Mr. Howe.

From Craig Custance of ESPN:

Gordie Howe never took anything for granted. Not his place in hockey history. Not his place on the Detroit Red Wings' roster.

For 25 seasons, he was the face of the Red Wings, and former teammate Ted Lindsay doesn't remember a training camp in which Howe wasn't fighting for his job.

"He was always worried about making the team," Lindsay said. "It was a tough job for the guy playing on the wing in training camp. This guy was fighting for his position."

Howe was humble. On the ice, he could be mean. And when he finished his career, Lindsay said Mr. Hockey's place was at the top.

"He's the greatest hockey player who ever played," Lindsay said. "That includes all of them."

• From USA Today's FTW: "The story behind the Gordie Howe jersey Cameron wears in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.'"

• From Getty Images: Remembering two legends we lost this week.

• Commissioner Bettman issues a statement on the passing of Gordie Howe:

“All hockey fans grieve the loss of the incomparable Gordie Howe.

“A remarkable athlete whose mastery of our sport was reflected by the longevity of his career and by his nickname, ‘Mr. Hockey,’ Gordie’s commitment to winning was matched only by his commitment to his teammates, to his friends, to the Red Wings, to the city of Detroit and – above all – to his family. His devotion to Colleen through her illness and the fact that he extended his playing days into a fifth decade so he could play with his sons are only two examples of that true priority in his life. 

“Gordie’s greatness travels far beyond mere statistics; it echoes in the words of veneration spoken by countless players who joined him in the Hockey Hall of Fame and considered him their hero.

“Gordie’s toughness as a competitor on the ice was equaled only by his humor and humility away from it. No sport could have hoped for a greater, more-beloved ambassador.

“On behalf of the generations who were thrilled by his play and those who only know of his legend, and on behalf of all the young people and teammates he inspired, we send heartfelt wishes of condolence, comfort and strength to the Howe family and to all who mourn the passing of this treasured icon of our game.”

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.


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