There will never be someone like Gordie Howe. Nicknamed ‘Mr. Hockey,’ Howe is widely acknowledged as the most complete player in NHL history.
He was an NHL All-Star a whopping 23(!) times, which is more than most players have regular seasons in the league. No one has more seasons played, and only one player in history has more games played.
He’s been named one of the greatest players in hockey history on more than one occasion, but most noticeably in The Hockey News’ ‘100 Greatest NHL Players.’
Gordie Howe didn’t just play for a long time; he was absolutely dominant for most years.
He won the Art Ross for leading the league in goals six times and the NHL scoring title four times. He also won the Stanley Cup four times and became MVP, winning the Hart six times.
Howe retired in 1971 but came back years later. Still in his mid-40s, he managed to score over 100 points twice in six years. In 1979, he made a stunning comeback to the NHL for one season with the Hartford Whalers before retiring at 52.
Wayne Gretzky grew up idolizing Howe, and when he played with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, he wanted to wear No. 9 as a tribute to Howe.
The number was unfortunately taken, so Gretzky had to settle for 99, and he wore that number throughout all of his career.
Gretzky broke most of Howe’s records, but they always shared an incredible admiration for each other.
One time, Howe was asked to describe Wayne Gretzky and how he behaved on the ice, and he said the most perfect and hilarious one-liner.
”I think if you parted Wayne’s hair, you’ll find another eye,” he said, per NHL.com.
It doesn’t get much bigger than that!