It’s now official.
Gordie Howe can now be called Dr. Hockey.
The Red Wings legend received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Saskatchewan on Thursday.
University President Peter MacKinnon today graduates that Howe conquered adversity to become the premier athletic figure of his era.
“The University of Saskatchewan is proud to award the degree of Doctor of Laws to Gordon ‘Gordie’ Howe,” MacKinnon told those at TCU Place Thursday morning. “Congratulations, Doctor Hockey!”
A four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings in the 1950s, Howe, who grew-up on Avenue L North in Saskatoon – about two-miles west of the Saskatchewan campus – used to fish on the South Saskatchewan River and play pond hockey on university property with his boyhood friend, Frank Shedden.
“We used to ride our bicycles out there, and if their grass was being mowed and if they wanted it raked, we would rake it,” said Howe, a six-time Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most valuable player. “When they were moving heavy stuff into the university we would be there.
“We had a good understanding when I was about 12 (years-old) and we used to fish in their ponds out at the university. They were just nice people and they were very careful that I didn’t get too close to the fish ladder (on the river). If you fell into that thing, you’re a dead duck, so they were worried about that.”
Howe said Thursday that he was pleased to receive the honorary degree and to return to Saskatoon, where he planned to visit with his surviving sisters, brother and friends, who were in attendance at Thursday’s ceremony.