Skip to main content

Headlines

news

The life of 'Mr. Hockey' Gordie Howe: A timeline

A look back at the career of the late legend

NHL.com @NHL

Gordie Howe, recognized as the greatest NHL player who ever lived, died Friday. Howe, affectionately known around the world as "Mr. Hockey," was 88.

Here is a look back at his life and illustrious career:

March 31, 1928 -- Howe is born in Floral, Saskatchewan. 

1943 -- Howe is offered a tryout with the New York Rangers. He is 15 years old.

1944 -- Howe receives a tryout with the Detroit Red Wings and is signed to a contract by coach/general manager Jack Adams.

1945 -- After being signed by the Red Wings, Howe joins the Omaha Knights of the United States Hockey League. In his only season there, the 17-year-old has 22 goals and 26 assists in 51 games.

Oct. 16, 1946 -- Howe plays his first NHL game. He had seven goals and 15 assists in 58 games in the 1946-47 season. 

1947-48 -- Howe switches from No. 17 to the iconic No. 9 he wore for remainder of his career.

March 28, 1950 -- Howe sustains a career-threatening injury during a Stanley Cup Playoff game when he collides with Ted Kennedy of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The force causes a fractured skull, a concussion, and a broken cheekbone and nose. The injuries left Howe in critical condition for several days. 

April 23, 1950 -- An injured Howe wins the Stanley Cup for the first of four times when the Red Wings defeat the Rangers in seven games.

1950-51 -- Howe returns the following season and leads the NHL in goals (43), assists (43) and points (86) in 70 games.

April 10, 1952 -- Howe scores two goals in a 3-1 Stanley Cup Final victory against the Montreal Canadiens.

April 15, 1952 -- Howe wins the Stanley Cup for a second time in a four-game sweep of the Canadiens. Howe was awarded the Hart Trophy as League MVP for the first of four times later that spring. 

1953 -- Howe marries his girlfriend of two years, Colleen Joffa. 

April 16, 1954 -- Howe wins the Stanley Cup for a third time in five years, helping the Red Wings to a seven-game victory against the Canadiens.

April 14, 1955 -- Howe wins the Stanley Cup for a fourth time in six years, and the final one of his career, when Detroit defeats Montreal in seven games. 

Video: 1955 Cup Final, Gm7: Gordie's game-winning goal

1958 -- Howe is named Red Wings captain, a role he would occupy through 1962. 

Jan. 17, 1960 -- Howe, 31, scores two goals and one assist and passes Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard for the most points in NHL history (950).  

Nov. 26, 1961 -- Howe plays his 1,000th game in the NHL.

March 14, 1962 -- Howe becomes the second player in NHL history to score 500 goals. 

Nov. 10, 1963 -- Howe breaks Richard's record with his 545th NHL goal.

Nov. 27, 1965 -- Howe scores his 600th NHL goal.

Dec. 4, 1968 -- Howe scores his 700th NHL goal. 

1969-70 -- Howe finishes with 71 points to rank No. 9 on the NHL scoring list, the first time in 21 years he was not in the top five.

Sept. 8, 1971 -- Howe announces his retirement after 25 years with the Red Wings. He is 43 years old.

March 12, 1972 -- The Red Wings retire Howe's No. 9.

June 7, 1972 -- Howe is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

June 5, 1973 -- Howe comes out of retirement and signs with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. 

1973-74 -- Howe scores 31 goals and has 69 assists in 70 games for Houston. It's his first of four seasons there. 

May 19, 1974 -- Howe wins the Avco Cup, the WHA championship, for the first time. Later that spring, he was named League MVP.

May 12, 1975 -- Howe wins the Avco Cup again when Houston defeats the Quebec Nordiques in four games.

1977 -- Howe signs with the WHA's New England Whalers. 

Dec. 7, 1977 -- Scores the 1,000th goal of his career in a 6-3 win against the Birmingham Bulls. 

Oct. 11, 1979 -- Howe returns to the NHL with the Hartford Whalers in the NHL-WHA merger. His sons, Mark Howe and Marty Howe, are teammates. 

Video: Gordie Howe, 51, returns to NHL with Hartford Whalers

Feb. 29, 1980 -- Howe scores his 800th NHL goal.

April 11, 1980 -- At 52 years and 10 days, Howe plays his final game and becomes the oldest person to ever play.

June 4, 1980 -- Howe announces his retirement. 

Oct. 3, 1997 -- Howe plays one shift for the Detroit Vipers in the International Hockey League, extending his record of consecutive decades played to six.

March 28, 2016 -- Four days before his 88th birthday, Howe appears at a Red Wings-Buffalo Sabres game at Joe Louis Arena, where he is presented with a cake as the crowd sings "Happy Birthday" to him.

June 10, 2016 -- Howe dies at age 88.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.