One of hockey’s legends is in trouble.
The great Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey, suffered a stroke and has limited use of his right arm and leg at last report.
The man known for his touch around the net and wicked set of elbows is facing a tough battle but just like his hockey playing days, this battle is being met head on.
There will certainly be a fight and Howe won’t give in to anything he can’t do battle with and word is he is showing signs of bouncing back a bit.
After hearing the news it caused me to think back of the first time I had the pleasure of meeting this legend of the game.
Back in my radio days in Winnipeg I was assigned to cover the Winnipeg Jets in their last year in the WHA and was fortunate enough to be around when the Jets, Nordiques, Oilers and Whalers were admitted into the NHL.
The first time Hartford came to town I was determined to interview Gordie as it was his return to the NHL after years of playing with Houston in the WHA.
I had my list of questions ready and so armed with my recorder I went into the dressing room for the post game interviews. Of course there was a crowd around him and so I waited patiently as I wanted this interview all to myself.
After half an hour of answering questions the rest of the media went away and I approached him, asked him for a few minutes and he didn’t bat an eye saying yes, no problem.
What struck me about this was the fact many of his teammates were already showered, changed and headed for the bus.
Gordie was still wearing his skates, shin pads and pants sitting in his stall.
This was hockey royalty showing just how patient he was with the media or anyone who wanted to take a bit of his time.
We chatted for about 10 minutes and I got what I needed but left with a lot more than some audio. I was privy to a real life lesson in humility from an icon.
We shook hands and that was the end but I will always recall that moment in the sun.
Here’s to Gordie and his latest scrap!