Howe remembered for his humanity

By Darren Lum

Published June 14 2016

Canada was his home and hockey was hispassion but for all the legendary professional hockey statistics andhis on ice toughness humanity will now and forever be his legacy.

Gordie Howe also known as Mr. Hockeydied this past Friday. He was 88.

The former National Hockey League'sreferee-in-chief of officials and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee ScottyMorrison who has made a home up here in Haliburton remembers Howefor a few incidents off the ice.

While cottaging with his two boys andhis wife Morrison received a call from Howe about inviting his sonsto his hockey camp even putting them up at his house with wifeColleen while they attended.

“They go down. I go to pick them up.All the way home – Perry would be about five or six – Mr. Howesays this. Mr. Howe says that. We get back to Etobicoke. He jumps outof the car and goes upstairs [and comes down] he's got four DetroitRed Wings decals. So I'm watching him. He goes outside I think he'sgoing to put them on his bike. He's standing at the back of my bigOldsmobile station wagon. He was going to put them on the backwindow. I run out saying Perry you can't put them on there.'Mr.Howe said' … I don't care what Mr. Howe said. I see Gordie about aweek later [at Maple Leafs Gardens]. I say 'Nice going.' … He juststarted to laugh and that was him.”

He adds Howe was as gracious as he wasskilled. Morisson remembers one of Howe's teammates didn't want togive an autograph to a child.

“I guess Gordie turned to the playerand really just [stared]. 'When that little guy wants your autographyou just sign it'” he said.

Morrison said when he's asked who thebest player of all time in the NHL he says “without a doubt No.9.”

Although Wayne Gretzky surpassed Howein most goals scored in the NHL with 894 Howe remains second with801 in an NHL-record 26 seasons. The Gordie Howe hat-trick a goalan assist and a fight. It was a hallmark of his career with a laundrylist of hallmarks. He continues to hold records that will probablynever fall. His career spanned some six decades.

His loss was felt all over expressedpublicly in tweets and posts by those that met him who callHaliburton County home.

In a series of tweets Haliburton's MattDuchene an established NHL player with the Colorado Avalanche spokeof the passing with sadness reverence and respect.

In an email response to the EchoDuchene wrote: I got to chat with him and meet him after one of thebiggest nights of my life when I scored my first NHL goal and thenafter was told I wouldn't be going back to junior [hockey]. It wasessentially the night I made the NHL. Receiving a [Red Wings] jerseyfrom him signed to me was so nice of him. The way he played on theice and the way he humbly carried himself off the ice was what madehim such a legend.

It was a sad week of goodbyesrecognized by West Guilford's Bernie Nicholls who was an establishedsniper in the NHL. Boxing legend Muhummed Ali like Howe were morethan the skill and brawn they displayed in the ring and on the ice.

Nicholls posted to the web to expresshis feelings on Ali and Howe through under the headline Men who have changed the game and a split image ofMuhummad Ali with a quote “The man who has no imagination has nowings” on the left and Gordie Howe on right with “I'm really justa lucky old farm boy.”

“It's a sad day today we say goodbye to Mr. Hockey.  Oneof the all time greats.  I was fortunate to do an autographouting with him.  I was with him for over three hours!  I had agreat visit with him.  He was just an unbelievable person” hewrote. “It was also Ali's funeral today.  Saying goodbye totwo legends is not easy. These two men will always be remembered.”