Even before his trade to the Detroit Red Wings midway through the 1955-56 season, Murray Costello was always a big fan of Gordie Howe.
"I know Bobby Orr came after Gordie, as did [Wayne] Gretzky, but in my day, Gordie was the standard and Gordie was the guy," Costello said.
Knowing he would call him a teammate was something he would forever treasure. Costello, who will receive the Wayne Gretzky International Award during U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Oct. 15, played in the NHL for three "Original Six" franchises from 1953-57 -- the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Detroit.
Howe, according to Costello, will always be considered his "favorite guy."
"He did it all and that's the thing that stood out to me," Costello told NHL.com. "He was so strong and so talented and played so many minutes … he just couldn't get enough of it. He just seemed to remain the continuous teenager. He was easy-going but not one you'd fool with on the ice because of those elbows. They happened to be everything they said they were."
Costello didn't register a point in 27 career games with the Red Wings, but still wouldn't trade the experience for anything. The Howe family, incidentally, was bestowed the Gretzky Award in 2000.
"The whole experience [of playing in the NHL] in that short time was a privilege," Costello said. "To be moving in that company and traveling with those guys was something special."
Follow Mike Morreale at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Twitter at: @mike_morreale