Gordie Howe in 20 amazing facts about his life and legacy

NHL legend Gordie Howe died at the age of 88 on Friday. Tributes and facts about Howe have poured in all day long on Howe’s greatness, longevity and what he meant to the game.

“Everyone knows my opinion about the man. He’s a special person. He’s a great ambassador for the game of hockey. He was a wonderful father. Great grandfather. For me, he’s the greatest hockey player who ever played,” said Wayne Gretzky on the Dan Patrick Show on Friday.

He was a true titan of hockey, and because of this there are many facts and tidbits about Howe, his life and his legacy in the game.

Howe was also referenced a bit in pop culture and many remember him for those as well.

We took a look at 20 facts about Gordie Howe.

• Howe only had two ‘Gordie Howe Hat Tricks’ in his career, a goal an assist and a fight in one game. The superlative was more made on the fact that Howe often made in-game impacts with his goal scoring and his fists.

• He was the first official model for the original San Jose Sharks’ jersey.

Photo provided by San Jose Sharks. 

• Howe played professional hockey in six different decades of his life. His last game came in 1997 when he suited up for the IHL’s Detroit Vipers at the age of 67.

• Howe’s jersey was an important part of the John Hughes classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” which was released in 1986. Hughes was a big Detroit Red Wings fan and Howe sent Hughes the ‘Howe’ jersey used in the movie by the character Cameron Frye portrayed by Alan Ruck.

Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off

• Howe played in the NHL until he was 52. He’s the only player to play into that decade and Chris Chelios is the next oldest at 48. This is arguably one of Howe’s most unbreakable records. We only use the term ‘arguably’ because Jaromir Jagr is still going strong at age 44.

• Another incredible achievement by Howe? His 23 NHL All-Star Game appearances. The next closest is Ray Bourque at 19. Especially considering how the league sometimes skips All-Star years because of the Olympics and changes formats, it seems unlikely this will ever be reached. Also today’s athlete seems to put less emphasis on going to the game itself.

•  If you count his years in the WHA, Howe scored 975 professional goals, which is actually 35 more than Gretzky scored combined in both leagues.

• He is one of just three players to play in the NHL after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The others are Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux. Howe returned to NHL action in 1979-80 when the NHL and WHA merged.

• Howe was invited to a tryout camp with the New York Rangers when he was 15 years old.

• He “threw concrete” during summer construction projects, to help build his strength.

Photo via NHL History Girl

• Howe’s No. 9 is considered iconic, but he originally wore No. 17 with the Red Wings. Said Howe, “The No. 9 became available and it was offered to me. We travelled by train back then, and guys with higher numbers got the top bunk on the sleeper car. No. 9 meant I got a lower berth on the train, which was much nicer than crawling into the top bunk.”

• He was known as ‘Woodrow’ to some Simpsons fans

• For many years Howe believed his salary was the highest on the Detroit Red Wings. Then in 1969 he found out Bob Baun and Carl Brewer were being paid much more. Howe then demanded a raise from his $45,000, and got a $100,000 salary from owner Bruce Norris.

• By the age of 35, Howe said he had received 300 stitches to his face.

Gordie Howe

• Howe never scored 50 goals. The most he scored in a single season was 49 in 1952-53. His only time scoring over 100 points in the NHL was 1968-69 when he was 40 years old.

But as Sports Illustrated pointed out about Howe’s 49 goals, “In 1952-53 teams averaged a total of 4.8 goals per game, the lowest in modern hockey history. In 1944-45, when (Maurice) Richard set the mark (at 50), the average was 7.4 goals per game—the highest in modern hockey history. Howe's 49 actually represented a greater percentage of the total goals scored by the league than Richard's 50.

• Howe underwent stem cell treatment in Mexico after suffering a serious stroke in 2014 and made remarkable recovery, giving him back some quality of life. He returned to Joe Louis Arena in September of 2015 for an exhibition game.

(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

• Gordie and his wife Colleen have a middle school named after them in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

• He was one to hold a grudge according to Greatest Hockey Legends.

One hockey legend serves as a fine example of this would have been an exchange with Baun. In 1957, Baun knocked Howe down with vicious intent. Howe had to be helped to the bench. 10 seasons later in 1967, Baun was playing for Oakland and was defending Howe on a one-on-one rush. Howe took a shot and the follow through of the stick caught Baun in the throat. Baun was down on the ice bleeding. Howe mercilessly stood over him and said "Now we're even."

• Gordie dearly loved Colleen, who died in 2009 of Pick’s disease. She managed Gordie’s business interests and founded the Detroit Junior Red Wings. Their nicknames of Mr. Hockey and Mrs. Hockey were both trademarked.

It is a family affair as hockey great Gordie Howe, his wife Colleen and sons Marty and Mark try on new jerseys under the eye of Jack Kelly, (2nd from right) New England Whalers director during an announcement in Hartford, 5/23, that the Howes are moving to New England.

• Gordie is the only NHL player to play with his sons. He suited up with Mark Howe and Marty Howe for the Hartford Whalers.



- - - - - - -

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