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NHL All-Star Legends: Gordie Howe

by Brian McCormack / Columbus Blue Jackets

Few players in the history of the National Hockey League have had as large an impact on the All-Star Game as Gordie Howe.

“Mr. Hockey” appeared in 23 NHL All-Star Games during his 32 seasons in the NHL and WHL, four more appearances than any other player. He ranks third in goals (10), third in points (19), and first in penalty minutes (27). Howe brought the same passion in an All-Star jersey that he brought in a Red Wings jersey, and he produced some memorable All-Star moments. Here are a few of his best:

1980 All-Star Game: In his final All-Star appearance, Gordie Howe returned to Detroit and a standing ovation from the fans he played in front of for 25 years. Introduced only as “Number 9,” Howe was about two months shy of his 52nd birthday and still producing at a high rate for the Hartford Whalers. Howe would register an assist on the final goal of the game. A player who didn’t have a point in the contest would go on to be the All-Star Game’s all-time leading scorer. Wayne Gretzky, in a passing of the torch for hockey, made his first All-Star appearance during Howe’s last.

1948: It’s a popular hockey phrase - the Gordie Howe hat trick. A Gordie Howe hat trick is what players refer to when one registers a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game. Ironically, Gordie Howe only registered one Gordie Howe hat trick during his 32-year career. Still, his grit and toughness were on display during his first All-Star Game in 1948, the second-ever for the NHL.

Howe squared off and dropped the gloves with Gus Mortson of the Toronto Maple Leafs, to this day the only fight in the history of the All-Star Game. Long known as a Wings’ killer, Mortson had his fair share of altercations with Detroit players in particular, in addition to the fact he was the league leader in penalty minutes three times in his career. It was only appropriate he’d find one of the All-Star roster’s four Red Wings in Howe to mix it up.

1950: The fourth-ever NHL All-Star Game pitted the reigning Cup Champions against the rest of the league’s best. In October 1950, it was Howe and the Red Wings coming off a Stanley Cup victory (Howe’s first) over the Rangers, and Howe would find the scoresheet for the first time in his third All-Star Game, playing alongside teammates.

Ted Lindsay stole the show with the first hat-trick in All-Star history, but Howe had an impact game as well and was a Second-Team All-Star. He assisted on Lindsay’s first goal just 19 seconds into the game, and then added one of his own in the second period. The Wings went on to win 7-1, the first NHL team to beat the All-Stars.

1963: Gordie Howe assists on a goal by Henri Richard, vaulting him past Maurice “Rocket” Richard as the all-time leading scorer in the All-Star Game with 10 points.

1965: Gordie Howe scores four points, including his first multiple-goal All-Star game. The All-Stars defeated the Canadiens 5-2.
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