Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

LITKE: Howe’s Legacy Persists

There has been an outpouring of support from the sports community for National Hockey League legend Gordie Howe, thanking him for his incredible contributions to the sport. Despite Howe’s weak state, his legacy remains strong.

Howe is in poor condition after suffering a stroke last week. It was his second stroke this year.

According to Howe’s family, the 86-year-old’s chronic back pain, dementia and high blood pressure took a turn for the worse after the stroke, and they fear he may not have much time left.

Howe, who played most of his career for the Detroit Red Wings, certainly made an impact with his offensive ability. With remarkable skill and intelligence with the puck, he amassed 1,850 points and countless major achievements. He was named league MVP six times, won six scoring titles and lifted the Stanley Cup four times. However, his legacy goes far beyond his offensive ability and awards.

His statistics may not be comparable to those of fellow forwards Wayne Gretzy and Mario Lemieux, but for an offensively gifted player, Howe had unmatched toughness and grit. He would never shy away from a big hit or a fight. His physical play was all the more remarkable considering he holds the NHL record for most games played, with 1,767, in a career spanning from 1946 to 1980.

Howe’s unique blend of offensive ability, and toughness earned him admiration and elevated him to legend-status. Over the years, NHL players have aspired to achieve the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” by registering a goal, assist and a fight.

The Saskatchewan native played his last NHL season in 1980 for the Hartford Whalers after an eight-year retirement. At the age of 52, Howe had 15 goals and 41 points in his final season of an illustrious career. When he hung up his skates, it was evident that the beloved NHL player’s legacy would continue even longer than the span of his playing days.

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann was one of many to pay tribute to Howe. He dedicated a six-minute segment of his show to the Red Wings great that has since gone viral due to an anecdote that Olbermann shared about Howe’s resilience.

Olbermann considers Howe’s ultimate display of perseverance as not his ability to play in the NHL at an old age, but rather an incident that occurred early in his career.

After a blow to his head during the 1950 playoffs, Howe required a 90-minute procedure that involved drilling a hole in his head to drain the blood. The operation put his mental health and career in jeopardy, but Howe would recover in time to play the next season and many more after that.

Over his long career, Howe’s skill and attitude inspired many. His well-rounded approach to the game shaped what it means to be a good hockey player. Players take as much pride in toughness and intelligence as they do in skill. Gretzky, largely considered the best player in the world, may not have had the same impact if he had not idolized Howe and his playing style.

Whether or not Howe’s health condition improves, he will continue to impact the game for years to come.

Daniel Litke is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. Capitals hill appears every Friday.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *