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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.

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