As we share our favorite memories of Mr. Hockey, have a look at this stunning photo from his playing days, which shows off a physique fitting of a modern NHLer.
Gordie Howe, one of the game’s true legends, suffered a serious stroke earlier this week. His condition remains serious but his family says it is improving.
Amid the well wishes for Howe, 86, we’ve seen an outpour of nostalgia and people sharing their favorite memories of him, from his dominant play as the original power forward to the way he always took time for others and never minded being adored, as he understood what it felt like to be on the other end.
We’ve also seen lots of Howe photos popping up, and the one above, of Howe fishing for tuna, blew me away. The imgur user who posted it said it best: “Now I know how he knocked so many people around.”
We knew ‘Mr. Hockey’ was a dominant physical force in his career, but this image goes against the modern idea that training is light years ahead of what it was in the old days. That’s probably the case for the most part, but maybe Howe was an exception. Today’s NHLers train like Ivan Drago, but Howe trained like Rocky. He was a fitness machine from a young age, gaining his physique not just from typical exercise, but from things like working construction. No wonder he was still an NHLer at 51 years old.
Here’s hoping Mr. Hockey summons some more of his brute strength to get well soon. You’re in our thoughts, Gordie.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin