Gordie Howe will be celebrated throughout the season by the Detroit Red Wings, and the club honored ‘Mr. Hockey’ on opening night with a tribute video and a touching salute from fans.
On Monday, for the final time in franchise history, the Detroit Red Wings opened their season at Joe Louis Arena, and as part of the opening-night celebration, the team paid tribute to the greatest Red Wing of all-time and arguably the greatest player ever, Gordie Howe.
During the minute-long tribute, images were shown of Howe during his younger years before he reached the NHL and in the seasons he spent with the Red Wings, including clips of him alongside fellow Production Line members Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay, Howe reaching milestones and, of course, ‘Mr. Hockey’ alongside his wife, Colleen.
In addition, Wayne Gretzky, who idolized Howe before becoming an all-time great himself, spoke about Howe’s impact on his life and the life of others, and Steve Yzerman, the longest-serving captain in Red Wings history, adding that Howe is “synonymous with hockey.”
When the tribute ended, fans throughout Joe Louis Arena held up No. 9 signs to honor Howe and a chant of ‘Gordie!’ broke out:
Howe, who passed away June 10, will also be celebrated throughout the season by the Red Wings with a No. 9 patch that will be worn on the left breast of Detroit’s jerseys. The Red Wings have also planned a Gordie Howe Replica Statue giveaway night for early November, and there’s the possibility that celebrations for Howe could even go beyond that, especially as Detroit prepares to leave the Joe for Little Caesars Arena in 2017-18.
As for opening night, the Red Wings did their longtime home proud by skating to a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. The win was Detroit’s first of the season and was powered by a hat trick from defenseman Mike Green.
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