TORONTO -- For years he has been known as Gordie's son, Mark. Can we please now refer to him Mark Howe, Gordie's son.
Mark Howe has lived his entire life in the shadow of his famous father, but now that they share a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it's time that Mark gets his just due for being a legend just like his old man.
Howe, a finalist for the Norris Trophy three times in the 1980s, was the first of the four inductees to get enshrined into the Hall tonight.
Howe, dressed to the nines in a tuxedo with a sharp looking bow-tie and vest combination, held his plaque up with Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Bill Hay and then strode to the podium. He put on his dark-rimmed glasses, pulled out his speech and started to read.
Howe told NHL.com on Sunday that normally when he gives a speech or talks in public, he doesn't read, he just talks from the heart. Tonight he wanted to read just to make sure he didn't forget anything.
Howe opened his speech with a message to the hockey world about the victims of the tragic Lokomotiv plane crash in September, in which he lost his dear friend and former defense partner, Brad McCrimmon.
"I hope the victims of this terrible tragedy receive full compensation for their losses, which is not the case at this time," Howe said. "I find this morally upsetting. The families have lost their loved ones, they do not have to suffer financially as well. The hockey world should do all it can to make it right."
Mark then recognized Maureen McCrimmon, Brad's widow, who was in the crowd.
"It makes my evening complete," he said.
After thanking several people that had an influence on his career, his development as a hockey player and his overall life, he talked about going to Philadelphia in 1982.
"From the beginning it was as if I was born to be a Flyer," he said. "Although I wanted to slash him a few times, I want to thank Mike Keenan for helping me to raise my bar."
He also mentioned some of his old teamamtes, including McCrimmon, Glen Cochrane and Kjell Samuelsson.
"The orange and black will be a part of me forever," he said.
He then moved on to thanking the Illitch family and Jim Devellano for bringing him to Detroit to fulfill a dream of playing for his dad's old team.
Mark then had a touching moment when he thanked his ex-wife, Ginger.
"Although I have been separated for a number of years now, I would be remised not to thank Ginger for bringing the three kids into his world and the commitment she made to them as a mother."
He moved on to his siblings, Kathy, Murray and Marty. He had some extra special words for Marty.
"Marty is so much a part of this evening. You looked out for me, protected me. You're my big brother and my best friend."
Mark talked about his three kids and said he knows how they feel tonight "because I watched my father be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. The three of you are the most important people in my life. I am so proud to be your father. I love you all very, very much."
He talked about his mother, the late Colleen Howe, and said how he wished she could be here tonight. He thanked her for everything, including teaching him how to be the son of Gordie Howe.
"I guess there is one person left to thank in this building," he then said, referring to his dad. "I'm not going to thank you for being my linemate for six years and I'm not going to thank you for elbowing the guy who may have taken a dirty shot at me. I'm not going to thank you for being the greatest hockey player ever. I want to thank you for being the husband, father and grandfather you are. You are the role model that led my life. I'm so proud to call you my dad."
Mark told a story that after he retired Gordie said he wished just for one game he would have worn his No. 9 Red Wings jersey. He never got the chance in a game, but he honored that request tonight, pulling the red No. 9 sweater over his tuxedo with pride.
"Dad, I love you," he said. "Thank you."
Howe exited the stage. Next up is Ed Belfour.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl