Mr. Hockey — Gordie Howe — died today (June 10, 2016). His professional hockey career remains unmatched in terms of durability. He played pro hockey from the age of 18 into his early ‘50s, and he stands with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, perhaps above all others, in the pantheon of the sport.
The six-time MVP and scoring champion is remembered in most of North America for his career stats of more than a thousand goals, 1,500 assists, and 2,400 penalty minutes in the NHL and World Hockey Association combined. His combination of scoring touch and grit explain why, to this day, hockey players call a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game a "Gordie Howe hat trick."
But here in Houston, Howe's remembered for coming out of retirement after his long career with the Detroit Red Wings, to — at the age of 45 — lead the upstart WHA's Houston Aeros to back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975, playing here in the Bayou City alongside his sons, Marty and Mark.
When the Aeros left the WHA in 1977, the Howes left Houston to play with the New England Whalers, who later moved to the NHL in Hartford. Howe continued to play until finally retiring in 1980, making him the only pro hockey player whose career spanned five decades.
He remains the most storied player in Houston hockey history.