DETROIT - It is with great sadness that the Detroit Red Wings mourn the loss of one of hockey's all-time greats, Gordon (Gordie) Howe, who passed away today at the age of 88. The longest-tenured player in Red Wings' history, Howe's playing career spanned five decades and lasted 2,421 games until age 52, one of many factors that led to Gordie becoming known universally as "Mr. Hockey." Gordie is survived by his four children, Marty, Mark, Cathy and Murray, and nine grandchildren.
"Today is a sad day for the Detroit Red Wings and the entire hockey world as together we mourn the loss of one of the greatest hockey players of all-time," said Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. "The Red Wings organization and the National Hockey League would not be what they are today without Gordie Howe. There is no nickname more fitting for him than "Mr. Hockey." He embodied on and off the ice what it meant to be both a Red Wing and a Detroiter. He was tough, skilled, and consistently earned success at the highest level. His achievements are numerous and his accomplishments immeasurable. It is truly a blessing to have had him both in our organization and our city for so many years. He will be deeply missed."
Born on March 31, 1928, Gordie was one of nine children born to Ab and Katherine Howe in Floral, Saskatchewan. Howe played his minor hockey in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, before leaving at age 16 to attempt a career in professional hockey. He was noticed by the Red Wings' scouting staff and signed his first professional contract prior the 1945-46 season, which he spent with the USHL's Omaha Knights before making the Red Wings as an 18-year-old in 1946-47.
Howe's arrival to the NHL led the Red Wings to their most successful decade in franchise history, capturing four Stanley Cup championships in the 1950s (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955). Howe led the league in points in four consecutive seasons starting in 1950-51, part of a stretch of 20 consecutive seasons where he finished among the NHL's top five in scoring. Howe won the NHL's Art Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer six times (1951-54, 1957, 1963), won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most-valuable player six times (1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1963), was an NHL All-Star a record 23 times and made the NHL's First All-Star Team 12 times and the Second All-Star Team nine times. Alongside Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay, whose jersey numbers hang near his iconic No. 9 in the Joe Louis Arena rafters, Howe made up one of the most well-known and dominant trios in hockey history, "The Production Line."
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