DETROIT – Red Wings legend Gordie Howe remained in guarded condition Wednesday afternoon after he suffered a major stroke sometime Sunday morning while living with his daughter in northwestern Texas.
Howe, the all-time franchise leader in goals, points and games played, and the greatest player of his generation, is facing the toughest battle of his life.
Howe, 86, led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships while winning six league scoring titles and taking home the Hart Trophy six times as the league’s MVP.
Howe’s family including his four children – Marty, Mark, Cathy and Murray – is gathered in Lubbock, Texas, where they remain by their father's side.
Howe’s second oldest son, Mark, the Red Wings’ director of pro scouting, released the following statement from the family early Wednesday afternoon:
“The Howe family would like to thank friends, family and fans for your overwhelming well-wishes, prayers and support for Gordie. He suffered a significant stroke on Sunday morning while at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas. His condition remains guarded although he is showing some signs of improvement. We acknowledge that there is a long road to recovery ahead, but Dad's spirits are good and his competitive attitude remains strong.”
Red Wings players and coaches learned of Howe’s deteriorating health conditions Tuesday prior to the team’s departure to Washington, where they are scheduled to face-off against the Capitals tonight at the Verizon Center.
“It’s sad news of the stroke and the family is all in there and we’re praying and hoping for a speedy recovery,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Babcock has always admired Howe. It was easy to do, especially since both were born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Babcock once played on a youth team with Howe’s nephew, Bruce Clark, and played at the Gordie Howe Bowl.
“I was just a little kid and he came over to Bruce’s mum’s place, that’s his sister, and you were just one of those kids who came by to get a look at Gordie Howe,” Babcock said. “So that was a special thing. … You feel real privileged to build a relationship with him.”
For fans who would like to send cards or letters of support to Gordie, they can do so by sending them to:
c/o Texas Trailer Corral
12207 HWY 87
Lubbock, TX 79423