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NHL.com readers share memories of 'Mr. Hockey'

Fans describe their favorite Howe stories and thoughts

NHL.com @NHL

NHL.com asked readers to their favorite Gordie Howe stories, memories and thoughts on the NHL Facebook page. Here are some of the posts we received.

To post your own Gordie Howe memory, go here.

"I feel lucky to have been able to meet Gordie in 2002. He was the nicest guy; asked me to sit next to him and have a conversation, which I did. I was 19 and had just finished playing my freshman season at WMU, I told Gordie. In reply, he said 'That's wonderful! I hope that more young women like you continue to grow the sport.'

"I'll never forget that moment." -- Angela Shaughnessy

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"I was at Joe Louis Arena for a Red Wings game and Gordie Howe was there signing copies of his book. I waited in line for Gordie to sign my copy, and when I got in front of him I froze. He looked at me and shook my hand and said, 'You are a pretty good-size guy, did you play hockey?' I stood there in awe of a legend and finally sputtered out 'Yeah, but I was no Gordie Howe.' He laughed shook his head and replied 'Don't worry kid. Not many were.'" -- Tim Mahoney

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"I was one of those kids the President spoke of in his wonderful words about Gordie Howe ... I was a girl in Los Angeles about 25 years ago who wanted to play ice hockey, something pretty much unheard of in my city during that time. My dad had played, my brother was learning to be a goalie and I knew the name 'Gordie Howe' and what he was to the sport for as long as I could remember. I got out on that ice, I knocked pucks into the rain gutter pipe for hours in our backyard, I skated every weekend, and I played with the boys ... all for the love of ice hockey and the thrill of playing. Gordie Howe put ice hockey on the map in the U.S. as a major sport. He was more than the penultimate ambassador for the game the world over, he embodied everything the ideal player could be. The world is a little dimmer having lost him, but richer to have had him." - Elaine Burgos

*****

"NY State Fair Coliseum. We were 9 years old. Maybe 10. Maybe 12. … I don't remember how old we were. Kids. Playing a game we loved. The final buzzer sounded. Game over. I remember nothing of the game that day. What I do remember is this man taking the time to greet me and all my teammates at center ice. He signed all our little commemorative hockey sticks, and offered up his hand and a smile. I went on to score many goals with that stick. From my grandmother's kitchen floor to the basement of my childhood home and countless places between. I'm not sure what ever happened to that little stick. It probably met a fate similar to all of those Mickey Mantle rookie cards, in the spokes of bicycles. Nonetheless, memories remain.

"I am certain this same memory is being shared the world over today.

"That's who Gordie Howe was.

"The final buzzer has sounded.

"Rest in peace, Mr. Hockey." -- Chris Couse

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This photo is exactly as I remember Gordie Howe! For me it was 1964, I was 8 years old standing in line to meet my hero, who was in Regina signing his new book! I, like every other boy in Saskatchewan, was going to be a pro hockey player and I was in awe; if a farm boy from Saskatchewan could make it, so could I! His book, "Hockey ... Here's Howe" became my Bible and every day after school was spent at the rink practising what he was preaching! He was and still is the greatest to me! RIP #9!" - Jack Kindrachuk

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"Mine comes from when I was 9 years old and had the honor of meeting Mr. Hockey. He was on a book-signing tour and stopped by the local hobby shop where I spent every penny of my allowance on hockey cards for about 8 years. I was so excited to meet him that I frantically scoured my collection to find my ONE card of him lost amongst the thousands I owned.

"I took the card with me to the signing and was brought into a private room before the event began (a perk of having literally spent your life savings at the time all in one place). With my voice trembling, I asked: 'Mr. Howe, I know you are only supposed to sign your book tonight, but would you please sign my card of you?' He smiled and said, 'Only if you sign one of yourself for me.' My mom being the supermom she is, quickly dug into her purse and retrieved a hockey card of myself from team photo day that year. I nonchalantly sign the card and hand it to Mr. Hockey.

"At this moment, Mr. Hockey gave me the greatest joy that would stick with me for the rest of my life. As he received the card of me, he smiles, pulls out his wallet and proceeds to place my card in front of a family photo in his wallet. He then says, 'Now let's see that one you have of me.'

"Whether he thought he was being sly attempting to deny my request or he just could tell that my mom had to possess a card of me like any good hockey mom would, it doesn't matter. The impact of the greatest hockey player, Mr. Hockey himself, believing in me enough to respect my own card and retain it for safekeeping … it is an indescribable feeling despite this terribly long attempt to do so.

"So thank you Gordie Howe for having been an amazing ambassador to the game and for making everyone you encountered feel great. You will be sorely missed. I pray for your family to have the strength and courage to get through this dark time." -- Scott Stuart

****

"When I was just a little boy I got to meet Gordie in Traverse City and a pizza parlor of all places. My mother asked if he would sign a picture, and being 'Mr. Hockey' he signed and addressed it to me and now it sits framed and immortalized, just like Howe." - Billy T. Dodge Kuebler

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"I grew up in Houston. Not really hockey town, but I was fortunate enough to see him play for the Houston Aeros when I was a little girl. My father took me to games and made me a knowledgeable hockey-loving Texan. RIP Mr. Hockey," -- Dawn Hinton Marter

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"Gordie came to New Minas, N.S., for a promotional tour in 2008 and I encouraged my nine-year-old son to go get an autograph. The line was long and kids and adults of every age were ahead of him. After an hour, my son finally reached Mr. Hockey and held out a modern reproduction Gordie Howe hockey card and asked, 'Would you sign this Mr. Howe?' Gordie held out a big hand to my son and thanked him sincerely for his politeness as being the only person that day to address him as 'Mr. Howe.' Every else called him 'Gordie.' It is still a memory my son remembers fondly." - Tom Hogan

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"I was about 6 years old one winter day (maybe 1962) and my Mother dropped me and my older (9 years old) brother off at the Olympia to watch the Red Wings practice; imagine that in today's world. After the practice we were allowed to go out on the ice and collect autographs, I had my brand-new autograph book that my Mom gave me. Of course there was a huge crowd of kids around Gordie and I was at the back. Well, Gordie looked over at me; I was dressed in a Kamikaze hat with the flaps down, bill snapped up, large winter coat, and rubber goulashes over my shoes; and said 'Let the little fella through.' The crowd of kids parted as I walked up. Gordie gave me a little head tussle and signed my book with a huge smile on his face. I still have the autograph." - Bill Kositz

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"I must have been around 10. I was shopping with my mom at Grants in Vernon at Tri-City Plaza. I saw a friend and he said, 'Gordie Howe is at Finast next door!' I begged my mom to go see him. I ran down the sidewalk and into the store I ran up and down the aisles until I found him. I ran up to him and said Mr. Howe may I have an autograph, I had nothing to sign. Gordie looked at his beautiful wife rolled his eyes. Mrs. Howe said "Gordon." She reached in her pocketbook, ripped part of the grocery list off and he signed it in pencil ... That's all he had. I remember him putting his hand on the top of my head and both of them smiling at me. I ran all the way back to Grants. My mom asked, 'Did you see him?' I just smiled. … Yes he was that kind of professional athlete! RIP Gordon Howe you are the 'Greatest'!" - Steve Pike

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"1986 put on a clinic for our team and another in the NNHA in Illinois. Taught us soft hand passing and receiving, then joined our scrimmage game and taught us stick-checking, and some dirty moves too. I ended up scoring a goal in the game and he came up to me laughing, saying 'Nice shot kid.' Next time I had the puck he stuck a stick between my legs tripped me up and took the puck away, laughing. It was an honor sharing the ice with him." - Brian Rueb

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"He came to RPI with the Hansen Brothers for a fund-raiser. My boys age 8 and 13 went down to get autographs. Gordie called my youngest a 'knucklehead.' My oldest got upset that a man called his little brother a name. He said he wanted to punch him. I read the story in the program that he called his grandchildren 'Knucklehead' and explained to the boys it was not an insult but a complement. Over 20 years later we still laugh about the night. RIP!" - Sheryl R Phillips

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"Sid Abel stated that if the Town of Napanee ever established a minor hockey league, the Red Wings would visit. My father was the principal of the public school in 1955 and set up the league. That year the Wings stopped their train between games with Toronto and Montreal to play an exhibition game. Between periods I got to go into the dressing room and Gordie insisted that I sit on his knee. I was 4 years old at the time. He grabbed a stick and had each of the players sign it. He instantly became my favorite player." - Doug Tate

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