Hockey fans and historians can spend hours debating where Gordie Howe belongs on a list of the greatest players of all-time, especially on the day that he passed away at 88.
It feels pretty safe to say that he leads the NHL in accomplishments that seem downright fictional, and barring some inane sports science breakthrough, we probably won’t see anyone like him again.
Honestly, this Rotoworld timeline for Howe’s life and career reads more like a series of Chuck Norris jokes than it does a factual career resume for “Mr. Hockey.”
Here are some nuggets from Michael Finewax’s great rundown, which you should read in awe:
1951-52-In addition to the Art Ross, Howe wins his first Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player. He has 47 goals and 86 points in the regular season and wins his second Stanley Cup as the Red Wings win in eight straight games. The octopus makes its first appearance at that time in the Olympia.
1963-64–Howe gets his 545th career goal to surpass Rocket Richard as the all-time NHL leading goal scorer on November 10th, 1963. President Kennedy assassinated 12 days later.
1968-69–Scores his 700th career goal. Finishes third in scoring at the age of 43 and has the most prolific season in his career with 103 points.
1979-80-The Howes return to the NHL with Hartford, as Gordie plays his final season. He manages 15 goals and 41 points and retires at the age of 52 at the end of the season. Howe finishes his NHL career with 801 goals, 1049 assists and 1850 points, the best in NHL history at the time of his retirement.
1997-Howe plays one shift for the Detroit Vipers on October 3, becoming the first hockey player to play professionally in six decades. He is 69.
Seriously, how is this the career of a single person and not … three or four?
Puck Daddy gets it right: Howe was the sort of figure you’d write a “book report” about, although an uninformed teacher might accuse you of spinning fiction.
This video from the NHL provides a great retrospective on Howe’s career, too:
The Red Wings presented a great tribute as well:
Remembering Gordie Howe