Gordie Howe's recovery from stroke-related health issues is progressing, and the Hockey Hall of Fame member has a public appearance with Wayne Gretzky scheduled for Feb. 6, The Hockey News reported Friday.
"As long as he keeps improving and doesn't have another setback, we feel he should be well enough to travel," son Marty Howe said in an email to THN.com. "We will never give up on Gordie, and giving up is something Gordie has never done."
Howe said his father is scheduled to appear at the Kinsmen Celebrity Sports Dinner in Saskatoon with Gretzky.
Gordie Howe has improved rapidly since receiving stem-cell treatment in early December.
"His response was truly miraculous," the Howe family said in a statement released by the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. "... His physical therapists have been astonished. Although his short-term memory, strength, endurance and coordination have plenty of room for improvement, we are hopeful that he will continue to improve in the months to come."
Son Mark Howe told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday that Gordie has enough strength to be somewhat mobile.
"It's more of a shuffle, but he is making his way around under his own power," Mark Howe said.
Gordie Howe, 86, has dementia and has had a series of small strokes since the summer. He had a severe stroke on Oct. 26, and another serious stroke was feared on Dec. 1; however, tests showed Howe was dehydrated.
He was released from the hospital a few days later and is living with his daughter, Cathy, and her family in Lubbock, Texas. Mark Howe said being in an environment his father recognizes has played a role in his improvement.
"As a family, we are thrilled that Dad’s quality of life has greatly improved, and his progress has exceeded our greatest expectations," the Howe family said. "Once again, we cannot emphasize how much you have fueled Mr. Hockey’s recovery and we thank everyone for their continued prayers and support."
Howe's professional career spanned five decades, most notably with the Red Wings. He played 25 seasons with Detroit, making his debut Oct. 16, 1946, and led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships.
Howe played 1,767 regular-season NHL games, scoring 801 goals with 1,049 assists for 1,850 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.