Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe visited Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday for their preseason home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was the first time Howe, 87, has visited the Red Wings' home since a series of strokes last year, including a major one on Oct. 26. He hadn't been at Joe Louis Arena since March 31, 2013, when he attended a Red Wings game to celebrate his 85th birthday.
Howe watched the first period from Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch's suite before heading home. Howe lives in Sylvania, Ohio, with his son Murray.
Detroit coach Jeff Blashill was an assistant for the Red Wings four years ago when Howe visited Joe Louis Arena on a regular basis.
"I had the opportunity to meet Gordie before. It's awesome. He's Gordie Howe, it's incredible," Blashill told the Red Wings website. "It was awesome to see him. I've worked closely with Mark Howe over the last four years and gotten to know Mark, so I've had conversations with Mark about how Gordie's doing. It was great to see him here tonight."
Howe stopped by the Blackhawks dressing room and met with Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, who played two seasons with Gordie's son Marty with the Hartford Whalers in the 1980s.
"I saw Mark [Tuesday] leaving [United Center on Tuesday] and he said Gordie might be here tonight," Quenneville said. "I was pretty excited about getting a chance to say hi.
"I met Gordie many nights and had many dinners with him [in the past]. He used to practice with us in the Whale just a few years ago. So, it was good to see him. He's a great man, great for the sport and obviously great here in Detroit."
Daughter-in-law Colleen Howe told the Red Wings website that Gordie has good days and bad days; he still jokes around, likes to help out with chores around the house, and has regained his appetite, she said. He was also well enough to attend his granddaughter's wedding last month in northern Michigan.
Howe has recovered from the stroke symptoms but continues to deal with a form a dementia, Murray Howe said.