From now thru the rest of the playoffs, I’m going to devote each of my “hockey quotes of the week” to players who’ve won the Stanley Cup in the past.
If you play hockey, you know Gordie Howe.
Mr. Hockey, as he’s also known, was one of the first – if not, the very first – hockey player to create a permanent impression on the world of hockey. He set a bar to which all players have strived to reach since then. Sure, it has been raised since then, what with the likes of such superstars as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemiuex and soon to be Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. But really, you’d be hard pressed to find a forward comparable to everything that Gordie How was – and still is – to the game of hockey.
One of the reasons we’re all so familiar with Gordie Howe’s body of work is because his stats don’t merely span a few seasons, they span decades. He is the only hockey player to have competed in the NHL for five decades. He retired with the Red Wings at the young age of 52.
1767 games, 801 goals, 1850 points. That’s not mentioning his WHA totals, by the way. He collected six Art Ross trophies, six Hart trophies and four Stanley Cups. Pretty impressive stuff, if you ask this Hockey Chump.
Gordie Howe’s toughness, strength and resiliency in playing such a physically demanding sport all those years speak volumes about his passion for the game, that which he summed up one time with this great quote:
"You've got to love what you're doing. If you love it, you can overcome any handicap, or the soreness, or all the aches and pains and continue to play for a long, long time."
I think this line is somewhat apropos to what players are going through right now in the playoffs (e.g. Thomas Vanek coming back last night for the playoff game and Marc Savard expecting to play in the next round of the playoffs). Hockey is a unique sport that demands the very best efforts out of its players. And those that give the most, are the ones we hold in highest regard.