In January, legendary Detroit Red Wing and hockey icon Gordie Howe was honored when a recreation center in his home province of Saskatchewan was renamed to the Gordie Howe Kinsmen Arena. But he's about to have his name on something much, much bigger.
It was announced Thursday that the border-crossing bridge to be built from Windsor, Ont., to Detroit will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The bridge, which is expected to be complete by 2020, will bear Howe's name and connect the city in which he played most of his career, Detroit, to the country that he calls home.
"Mr. Hockey, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, is a proud Canadian who led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup victories, building extraordinary goodwill between our two countries," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. "It is my sincere hope that this bridge, which bears his name, will continue this proud legacy by accelerating the flow of people, merchandise and services between our great nations for years to come."
Howe, 87, was not at the official announcement, but Harper and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder were joined by three of Howe's children. When asked what his dad thought about the naming of the bridge, Gordie's son Murray said his father had told him, "That sounds pretty good to me."
Howe made his NHL debut in 1946 with the Red Wings, and played 25 seasons in Detroit. He came out of retirement two seasons later to play in the WHA alongside two of his sons and returned to the NHL in 1979-80. He also suited up for one game with the IHL's Detroit Vipers in 1997-98, but only skated one shift.
Late in 2014, Howe fell ill, but his health has been improving steadily since then thanks to treatment he received in December.