Monday 13 June 2016

Book ~ "Mr. Hockey: My Story" (2014) Gordie Howe

From Goodreads ~ Big, skilled, tough on the ice, and nearly indestructible, Howe dominated both the sport and the record books like no one has before or since. Over an incredible six decades, the Hall of Famer had so many accomplishments that he set the record for the most records by any athlete ever in any sport. He also achieved the remarkable feat of playing for six years with his own two sons, Mark and Marty.

But Howe did not inspire generations of hockey players simply by rewriting the record books. When people talk about him, it’s the man they revere even more than the player. Despite his ferocity on the ice, Howe’s name has long been a byword for decency and generosity. A family man, a man of his word, a lifelong ambassador for the game, he is a true icon, and now he takes us through it all, from his Depression-era childhood and early obstacles through the ups and downs of his spectacular career, to his enduring marriage and close relationship with his children, to his thoughts on the game of hockey today.

There has never been a comprehensive account of Howe’s life from the man himself. Now is the time.

Gordie Howe was Gord's favourite hockey player (they even share a birthday!).  Gord read this book in April and though I'm not a hockey fan, he said I'd find it interesting and I put it on my "to be read" list.  Howe passed away last week (on June 10) at the age of 88 and that prompted me to read it now.

Howe was a professional hockey player who was born in Saskatchewan. From 1946 to 1980, he played twenty-six seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and six seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA).   He started playing professional hockey while still in his teens with the Detroit Red Wings and spent his first 25 seasons there.  He retired in 1971 and returned a couple years later to play hockey with his sons, Marty and Mark, with the Houston Aeros in the WHA.  He retired for good in 1980 at the age of 52.

He was nicknamed "Mr. Hockey" and is considered the most complete player to ever play the game and one of the greatest hockey players of all time.  A 23-time NHL All-Star, he held many of the sport's scoring records until they were broken in the 1980s by Wayne Gretzky. He continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played.

This is Howe's story told by the man himself.  He begins with his roots in rural Saskatchewan as one of nine children born during the Depression to poor parents.  He tells of his passion for hockey and that's all he ever wanted to do.  He meets the love of his life, Colleen, while playing for Detroit and they raise four children.  We know how good hockey players (and athletes in general) have it today with their huge salaries and life styles.  It was interesting to read how it was back in the 1940s and 1950s ... earning $2,000 a year and feeling grateful to have a job, and then discovering that the teams' owners had been taking advantage of them for many years.

Though a tough guy on the ice, Howe sounds like he was a nice guy.

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