Detroit River bridge to be named after Gordie Howe

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A long-planned bridge between Detroit and Windsor will be named after Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Thursday.

“This is joining two countries, two jurisdictions, two communities in what is a very strong and important relationship,” Harper said, per the Detroit News. “And I don’t think we could think of a better person who symbolizes that relationship better than Gordie Howe.”

Howe, 87, spent the majority of his playing career in Detroit, helping the Red Wings capture four Stanley Cups while capturing six Hart Trophies as league MVP. There’s a bronze statue of his likeness outside Joe Louis Arena, and his No. 9 was the first jersey to be retired in franchise history.

More on the bridge, from the News:

Son Murray Howe, who spoke for the family, said it is “truly, truly an incredible honor.” He recalled the story of his grandmother who came from Germany to Windsor for a better life.

“So Windsor is where it all began,” he said. “How fitting that this is where the bridge begins. When I told my Dad that the bridge would be named in his honor, he said, ‘That sounds pretty good to me.’ He is deeply moved by this gracious gesture.”

Both governments wanted the still-to-be-built bridge to be named after the star with whom both Americans and Canadians could identify and who urged “extraordinary goodwill” between the two countries, officials said.

Last winter, Howe was in poor health following a “significant” stroke but has since undergone an “amazing” recovery following stem cell treatment in Mexico. In February, Howe made a public appearance at the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner in Saskatchewan.