Detroit Red Wing great Gordie Howe came out of retirement for the chance to play with his sons Mark and Marty. The NHL prohibited the drafting of 18-year-olds. so Mark and Marty would not be eligible for several years.
The trio signed with the WHA Houston Aeros and propelled their team to the league championship. Mark delighted the Houston fans with a star performance despite his youth and inexperience. Marty played stellar defense, helping to anchor the Houston defense, and Gordie proved to be more than a drawing card by leading the team in scoring with more than 100 points.
When the NHL absorbed the WHA, the Howes also came back, joining the Hartford Whalers. Durability was Gordie Howe. In his tenure as a professional hockey player, he skated right wing through the presidencies of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. He played a remarkable 32 years. At 51, when he should have been in rocking chair on his front porch, he was still playing a regular shift in the NHL.
Not even more than 300 stitches, damaged knee cartilages, broken ribs, a broken wrist, several broken toes, a dislocated shoulder, an assortment of scalp wounds, a painful ankle injury and a near-brush with death could derail his NHL dominance.
Competing for as long as Howe did, one is bound to put up incredible numbers. His stats (World Hockey Association and playoff games included): 2,421 games, 1,071 goals, 1,518 assists, 2,589 points and 2,418 penalty minutes. He held NHL records of 801 goals (regular season) and 1,850 points until Wayne Gretzky came long. Besides Howe's endurance, there was the ability and determination that enabled him to win six MVP awards and six scoring championships with the Detroit Red Wings.