One moment with Mr. Hockey, impossible to forget

I imagine what it would have been like to be edged out of the slot and scored upon by the one who was greatest before the great one. I saw Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, play mostly on TV when he came back in the 1970s to play with his sons in the WHA. He was still extraordinary, and when I met him at the NHL’s San Jose, All-Star festivities in 1997, he was respected by every generation represented at that game. He briefly took the ice at nearly age 70 and undoubtedly received the greatest ovation. That same season, he signed a one day contract with the Detroit Vipers and skated a shift for the IHL team. But the rest wasn’t for show. His legacy is worth revisiting at the time of his passing to put in perspective his place as a sporting great. His Wikipedia page is here.  Detroit Free-Press columnist Mitch Albom’s remembers Howe here. 

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Speaking with Mr. Hockey after his Legends game appearance in 1997

At that all-star event we had the opportunity to speak to several greats for several stories, and while I don’t have copies of most of those – you can see his sharp attention to the interview and see his smooth skating on the file footage as he talks about the era of Line Nicknames. The piece ran on CNN/SI as a Page One, and while I wish I could offer more about my moment with Mr. Hockey, at least I have this to share. I’m grateful for that day, as he showed such grace and humility in the glow of adulation in the clubhouse and on the ice. My story is below…

 

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