Gordie Howe left an indelible mark on hockey and is one of the most iconic figures in the sport’s history, and his hometown Saskatoon Blades are set to pay tribute to Howe’s life and impact on the game in late September.
The Blades and City of Saskatoon have teamed up to dub Sept. 25, 2016, the official “Thank You, Mr. Hockey Day,” and as part of the day’s festivities a special pre-game ceremony will be held for fans. Doors to the SaskTel Centre will open an hour and a half before the matinee tilt against the Swift Current Broncos, and fans will be able to take a look at artwork of Howe, trophies from the Hockey Hall of Fame and the first 6,000 fans will receive a collectible item signifying their presence for the game.
One of the major pieces of the day will be tribute jerseys the Blades will don for the contest. The jerseys are a vintage white with a special Gordie Howe logo, and the striping on the arms and base of the jersey won’t be solid color, but instead made up of images of Howe and landmarks that played a part in his life. In addition, the jerseys will feature Howe’s famed No. 9 on the neckline.
The game-worn jerseys will be sold during the game by way of a silent auction, and all proceeds from the auction will go to the Gordie Howe Alzheimers Fund. The jerseys, as well as the game itself, are only part of the day-long celebration of ‘Mr. Hockey,’ though.
The morning ahead of the game, with a private ceremony for the Howe family which will see ‘Mr. Hockey’ have his ashes, as well as those of his wife, Colleen, interred at the Gordie Howe Statue and then the family will be led to the Gordie Howe Bridge. And after the Howe family ceremony and a brief party outside of the SaskTel Centre, legendary play-by-play announcer Bob Cole will host a special pre-game ceremony.
As part of the “Thank You, Mr. Hockey Day,” announcement, the Blades also announced the introduction of the Gordie Howe Player of the Year Award, which will be given to one player graduating from midget hockey. The recipient of the award will earn a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of the Blades.
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