In hockey there was never a player more respected by his peers than 'Mr. Hockey' himself; Gordie Howe.
Growing up in Canada during the Great Depression, Howe developed a burly work ethic and survival instincts that would come in handy later in life.
Already six feet tall in his mid-teens, Howe was physically beyond his years and uniquely gifted on the ice. He was constantly in motion. Imagine trying to feed a boy like that!
When he was 16, Howe worked up the courage to leave his hometown of Saskatoon to pursue a hockey career. Quite a move for a young lad.
In 1946, at the age of 18, Howe made his NHL debut for the Detroit Red Wings.
He wore the number nine, and quickly proved he could be counted on to score goals and make big plays. He also wasn't afraid to drop his gloves and push his weight around. His teammates loved that.
In fact the hockey term "Gordie Howe Hat Trick", which includes a goal, assist and a fight was coined after Howe because of his willingness to grapple with opposing players.
Probably the most impressive of all Howe's acccomplishments was that he was able to completely domiate the opposition over a remarkable five decades. That's fifty years!
No other athlete has done that. Gordie finished in the top five in scoring for an outstanding 20 straight seasons. He also became quite the collector of some important NHL hardware.
He was a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart trophies as the leagues most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.
Try finding a wall big enough to put all those trophies.
To show their appreciation for such a remarkable player, the league honoured Howe with the first NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
From the small town of Saskatoon to the sacred walls of the Hall of Fame, if there were ever a player deserving of the title 'Mr Hockey' it was Gordie Howe.