Gordie Howe's ashes laid to rest in Saskatoon

This morning Gordie Howe’s ashes were laid to rest at the base of his statue at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon in front of friends and family wearing Howe's No. 9 Detroit Red Wings jersey.

Howe passed away June 10, 2016

Gordie Howe's ashes were laid at the base of his statue at SaskTel Centre. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

Gordie Howe's ashes were laid to rest at the base of his statue at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon this morning. Friends and family wore Howe's No. 9 Detroit Red Wings jersey for the ceremony.

According to Howe's family, it was the 88-year-old's dying wish to have his ashes, and his wife's ashes interred together in his hometown.

On Sunday, 61 members of the Howe family were present at the special interment ceremony hosted by Steve Hogle, president of the Saskatoon Blades.

It was a final goodbye for the legendary hockey player and family man, known for his toughness and scoring prowess on the ice, and his compassion and kindness away from hockey.  

A memorial plaque with a photo of Gordie and Colleen Howe sits at the base of the Gordie Howe statue at SaskTel Centre. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

Speaking on behalf of the Howe family after the ceremony, Gordie's youngest son Murray Howe said this was an extremely special moment for the family, to all be in one place, honouring his dad's life and legacy.

"It's really neat. It's positive to see our extended family come together to be able to celebrate," Murray said.

He added how happy he was to have Gordie's resting spot in his hometown, and a place where anyone can go and remember him.

Shortly after, the family went to see the bridge named after Gordie.

The family of Gordie Howe visited the newly named Gordie Howe Bridge in Saskatoon following the interment ceremony. The bridge used to be known as the Circle Drive South Bridge. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

There, Don Atchison reflected on his memories of Gordie, sharing a special moment he shared with the four-time Stanley Cup champion last year when he was in town for the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner.

During a photo op with Mark and Marty Howe, Atchison said Gordie wanted a little more room for himself when the picture was taken.

"We were there with Mark and Marty holding the sign and we're getting our pictures taken and Gordie comes up and he works his way in, and he kind of elbows me to move over because he wanted more room in the picture," Atchison said.

Today's events, dubbed Thank You Mr. Hockey Day will also include a visit to Howe's childhood home and school, and then a special pre-game ceremony at the SaskTel Centre prior to the Saskatoon Blades' home opener. 

Howe died on June 10. His last public appearance in Saskatoon came in February 2015 when he was back home for the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner alongside Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull.