Gordie Howe is one of the most beloved figures in all of sports, and there may be no city where he’s more appreciated than Detroit.
The longtime Red Wing, who played nearly 1,700 games for Detroit over his incredible career, was on hand Monday to celebrate 88th birthday, which comes Thursday. During a stoppage midway through the first period, the capacity crowd on hand to watch the Red Wings take on the Buffalo Sabres paid tribute to ‘Mr. Hockey’ with a touching rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’ Check it out:
When there are in-arena ceremonies, it’s not uncommon for players from both teams to tap their sticks or bang the boards for whoever is being honored, but it’s clear how much the Sabres bench appreciates Howe and what he has done. The standing ovation from the visitors is great to see, and Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Red Wings' website his team had several players who were “hoping to see (Howe), hoping to get a picture."
It’s remarkable to see Howe still able to get to events such as this at Joe Louis Arena, especially considering he’s less than two years removed from suffering a major stroke in October 2014. Howe’s recovery has been well documented, and it’s fantastic to see the soon-to-be 88-year-old up and about at a Red Wings game to celebrate his birthday.
"I knew he was going to have a little bit of a hard time,” Mark Howe told the Red Wings’ website. “I said, 'Dad, you want to go to the Red Wing game?' He said, 'Oh, yeah,' just like that. He was so excited."
The Red Wings made sure to give Howe one final treat for birthday, too. In a game that Detroit needed to win to keep their playoff streak alive, the Red Wings took a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory. Detroit now sits tied with Philadelphia for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 76 points.