Friday, March 12, 2010

Gordie's Gift

How do you really know if you have put in a full day's work?

The kind of day when not only was everything wiped from the to-do list, but a few more items were added and taken care of as well.

In the National Hockey League, there is a simple definition of a full day's work called the "Gordie Howe Hat-Trick".

Named in honor of the legendary "Mr. Hockey", the "Gordie Howe Hat-Trick" consists of three accomplishments within a single game.

A goal.

An assist.

A fight.

On March 12, 1972, Gordie Howe retired from the NHL after 26 seasons, to take a front office job with the Red Wings organization. Bored stiff a year later, Gordie leaves Detroit and hooks up with the Houston Aeros of the upstart World Hockey Association at the age of 45. The Howe legend grew as he played alongside sons Mark and Marty in Houston before heading back to the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, retiring for a second and final time at the age of 52.

Three decades later, work ethic in the NHL is still being defined by Gordie Howe.

In his day, Gordie Howe was like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Jarome Iginla all rolled up into one. A rare combination of finesse and brute force, Howe's impact on the game is perhaps best appreciated when you see how he handled himself in this early 70's TV show, after leaving Detroit for Houston.

Many years ago in a previous life, a colleague and myself had the chance to interview Gordie and his wife Colleen Howe on a television show long since forgotten. The footage never survived as the tapes were accidentally erased to record another program, but the memory of Gordie and Colleen's class and humility remains.

Gordie is 80 now and on his own. Colleen passed away a year ago after 59 years of inspired marriage to a hard-working farm-boy from Saskatchewan named Gordie.

A wise person once said few are capable of surviving success, but Gordie was one of the few who never surrendered their humanity or their humility.

And that's why his gift is still being felt to this day throughout the NHL.

And beyond.

"You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave - win or lose"


ElderGEEK said...

It was 1965, Moncton Boys Club and our team won a soccer competition and they were presenting the team trophy's. It was a pleasant surprise to see Mr. Howe, bigger than life, walk in to make the presentations. It was like yesterday that I extended a trembling hand. He grasped and shook it, congratulated me and presented the trophy... I didn't wash that hand for a week. He left a lasting impression with this young lad!

Lenny Boudreau said...

Never realised how great of a man he actually was! So humble and seemingly quiet...Was another thing on the ice...

Great Post!