It was on this day in 1997, that Gordie Howe agreed to suit up for the IHL’s Detroit Vipers in the team’s season opener against the Kansas City Blades on Oct. 3.
Howe, also known as Mr. Hockey, became the only professional hockey player to play in six consecutive decades. He was 69 at that time.
Howe was the NHL’s career point-scoring leader from 1960 to 1989 and the league’s top goal-scorer from 1963 to 1994. With deceptive speed, an effortless skating style, he had the ability to shoot left – or right-handed. His records include most selections to NHL all-star teams — 21 in total.
Howe was one of six of Canada’s famous hockey players featured in a six-stamp souviner commemorating the 50th National Hockey League All-Star Game, held Feb. 6, 2000, in Toronto.
Howe was born on March 31, 1928, to Ab and Katherine Howe in a farmhouse in Floral, Saskatchewan; he was one of nine siblings.
Howe played for the Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers in the World Hockey Association (WHA).
He is the only player to have competed in the NHL in five different decades (1940s through 1980s). A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
- Denomination: 6 x 46¢
- Design: Dan Fell
- Dimensions: 42 mm x 42 mm (stamp)
160 mm x 204 mm (souvenir sheet)
- Gum Type: P.V.A.
- Illustration: Vince McIndoe
- Paper Type: Tullis Russell Coatings
- Perforations: 13+
- Printer: CBN
- Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours
- Tagging: General, four sides
- Quantity: 36,000,000 stamps