The hockey word was saddened yesterday with news of the death of Gordie Howe. From all over the NHL and beyond, there were statements and reflections on Howe’s life.
“The list of hockey players who suited up in six different decades, including returning to the ice after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, is a short one: it starts and ends with Gordie Howe. But the list of kids who skated around the pond until dark, picturing themselves passing, scoring, and enforcing like Howe, dreaming of hoisting the Stanley Cup like him – that one comprises too many to count. Howe’s productivity, perseverance, and humility personified his adopted hometown of Detroit, to which he brought four championships and which he represented as an All-Star more than 20 times. The greatest players define their game for a generation; over more than half a century on the ice, Mr. Hockey defined it for a lifetime. Michelle and I send our condolences to his sons and daughter, his family, and his loyal fans from Hockeytown to Hartford to Houston and across North America.”
Commissioner Gary Bettman
“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.”
Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch
“Today is a sad day for the Detroit Red Wings and the entire hockey world as together we mourn the loss of one of the greatest hockey players of all-time. The Red Wings organization and the National Hockey League would not be what they are today without Gordie Howe. There is no nickname more fitting for him than “Mr. Hockey.” He embodied on and off the ice what it meant to be both a Red Wing and a Detroiter. He was tough, skilled, and consistently earned success at the highest level. His achievements are numerous and his accomplishments immeasurable. It is truly a blessing to have had him both in our organization and our city for so many years. He will be deeply missed.”
Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland
“Gordie Howe was an incredible ambassador for the game of hockey. He was as fierce and competitive as they come but away from the rink he was truly engaging and personable and always enjoyed his interaction with the fans. Gordie set the standard for this franchise during the Original Six era, winning four Stanley Cups, capturing numerous awards and setting an abundance of league records. We will miss Mr. Hockey, who was the greatest Red Wing of all time. Our deepest sympathies go out to Mark, Marty, Murray, Cathy and the rest of the Howe family during this difficult time.”
Lanny McDonald, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame
“Gordie Howe is a true legend who not only inspired so many people by his achievements on the ice, but to all of those who interacted with him throughout his life. He represented our game with great dignity and always had time for his legions of fans. On behalf of the Hockey Hall of Fame and all of our Honoured Members, I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to Mark, Marty and the entire Howe family, and to express our gratitude to Gordie for the treasured memories and legacy he is leaving behind for all to celebrate. Thank you ‘Mr. Hockey’.”
“It was very saddening to hear the news of Gordie’s passing this morning. He has been an icon not only in Detroit, but throughout the entire hockey world for as long as I can remember. As one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL, the majority of his career being in Detroit, it was an honor to wear the same uniform, spend time with, laugh, joke and seek advice from him. Gordie’s humility and kindness left a permanent impression on me, greatly influencing how I tried to conduct myself throughout my career.
“His impact on the Red Wings organization is still evident today. I travel the world and constantly hear stories from people who love the Wings and share memories of the glory days when Gordie and his teammates ruled the NHL. For all players fortunate enough to play for the Wings, we should take time to thank and honor Gordie, for he is a significant reason why Detroit is such a special place to play.
“To Gordie’s surviving family, I offer my sincere condolences, in particular to his son Mark, my former teammate and colleague, who cannot help but remind me of his father every time I see him.”
Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan
“I never really had the opportunity to know Gordie. But obviously the impact that he’s had on the hockey community I think goes without saying. He’s been a great ambassador for the game. He’s been a great role model for all of us that have grown up with the game. Obviously it’s sad news to hear of his passing.”
Los Angeles Kings
“The LA Kings join the world of hockey in mourning the loss of Gordie Howe. His influence on generations of hockey players is immeasurable both in his accomplishments and his example to others. A true legend and icon, Mr. Hockey will be forever in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Howe family and the entire hockey community.”