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Today in Hockey History: Gordie Howe Retires From Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe; Original Six; sweater number 9

Hockey is finally back, but we at Last Word on Hockey are still going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for September 8th, featuring Gordie Howe.

Today in Hockey History

Gordie Howe Retires for First Time

1971: The Detroit Red Wings great retires after 25 seasons with the team. The 43-year-old retires with the most games, goals, assists and points. However, he’s coming off his worst offensive season with 23 goals and 52 points. The Hockey Hall of Fame waives the three-year waiting period to induct him.

However, he returns to the ice two years later with the Houston Aeros of the WHA. He plays with his sons Mark Howe and Marty Howe for six seasons. The trio move to the New England Whalers for the last two seasons in the WHA before the two leagues merge. He plays all 80 games in 1979-80, finishing with 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists), before retiring for good shortly after his 52nd birthday.

Other Notable Events

1972: The Soviet Union beats Canada, 5-3, in Game 4 of the Summit Series in Vancouver. Boris Mikhailov scores two first-period power-play goals as the USSR takes a 2-1-1 lead into the final four games in Russia. The teams take a two-week break before completing the series.

1980: Goalies Gump Worsley and Harry Lumley highlight this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class. Lynn Patrick and longtime American Hockey League president Jack Butterfield also gain entry to the Hall.

1982: Yvan Cournoyer, Rod Gilbert, Norm Ullman and Emile Francis are inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Cournoyer won 10 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens from 1963-1979. Gilbert is the New York Rangers‘ all-time leader in goals (406) and points (1,021). Francis was Gilbert’s coach for most of his tenure with the Rangers and helped rebuild them in the 1960s. He served as the team’s head coach through the next decade. Ullman split time between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Red Wings. He was the fifth player to reach 1,000 points in league history with 490 goals in 1,410 games.

1986: The Rangers trade forward Brian MacLellan to the Minnesota North Stars. New York would get a future draft choice from Minnesota. He scored 32 goals with the North Stars, but was traded to the Calgary Flames in the 1988-89 season.

2003: The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim name Steve Rucchin as their fifth captain in team history. He only lasts one season as captain before moving on to play for the Rangers.

Happy Birthday to You

1930: Jack McIntyre

1945: Rogie Vachon

1977: Jay McKee

1978: Marco Sturm

1985: Teddy Purcell

1990: Michal Kempny

1992: Nino Niederreiter


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