'It seemed like Gordie was going to live forever': sports reporter remembers Mr. Hockey
Sports journalist Darrell Davis says Howe stayed humble despite fame
Saskatchewan sports reporter Darrell Davis is remembering Gordie Howe, also known as "Mr. Hockey." The hockey legend, who grew up in Saskatoon, died in Ohio this morning at the age of 88.
The reporter's dad, Lorne Davis, played with Howe in Detroit in the 1950s.
He was a teammate and opponent of Howe, who helped Detroit win the Stanley Cup four times in six seasons.
Davis also won his own Stanley cup with the Montreal Canadiens. Eventually, he went on to be a scout with the St. Louis Blues and the Edmonton Oilers.
Immersed in the hockey world, he continued to literally rub elbows with Howe, Davis said.
Davis compared Gordie Howe to the recently fallen boxer and activist Muhammad Ali.
"They spoke to the people who really looked up to them," he said, remembering Howe as a man who viewed himself as a lucky farmer from Saskatchewan.
Davis said he saw Howe as invincible, even though people "kind of knew it was coming."
"It seemed like Gordie was going to live forever."
Last year, Howe returned to his old stomping grounds in Saskatoon for a banquet in his honour.
It was the famous hockey player's first public appearance after he suffered a series of strokes.
Davis was there and said even today, people are still talking about Howe's presence.
"He could barely speak, but he still had that little smile on his face," Davis said.
He added that while Howe was getting his picture taking with little kids, he would giggle and elbow them.
"You'd think, 'aha, he's still got it!'"
According to Davis, his dad said Howe was the "perfect teammate" because he was an all-the-time, all-around player.
Davis noted the hall-of-famer could score goals, play cleanly, but he wouldn't hesitate to get rough if the situation called for it.
While reminiscing, Davis told a story told to him by Vic Howe, Gordie's younger brother.
According to Vic, when his brother was growing up in Saskatoon, he usually played as a goalie.
Davis wondered just how different hockey history would be if Howe didn't leave the net.
with files from the Morning Edition