Gordie Howe “Babe Ruth of Hockey”

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins


Read Time: 3 minutes

Gordie Howe was a Canadian professional ice hockey player that had a very unique style of play that was tagged “The Gordie Howe hat trick” mainly because he scores, assists, and fights in most of his games. He was very well known for his toughness, exceptional puck handling, and skillful wrist shots that he could pull off with either hand.

Gordie was born on the 31st day of March 1928 in Floral, Canada but moved to the United States in 1944 and joined the Detroit Red Wings’ negotiating list in the same year. His move to the US was as a result of the Great Depression which made him quit school to pursue his hockey career.

He started playing at the age of five and was physically beyond his years. He was encouraged to strengthen his spine with chin-ups because doctored feared a calcium deficiency, seeing as he was already six feet tall in his mid-teens.

“Babe Ruth of Hockey”

Babe Ruth was a baseball player that was great at pitching and hitting. Gordie Howe is regarded as the most complete player to ever play the game. This is why Gordie is referred to as the “Babe Ruth of Hockey” because he could do it all.

Career Overview

Howe played a total of thirty-two seasons throughout his professional career. Six of those were in the World Hockey Association (WHA) while the rest were in the National Hockey League (NHL). He played all twenty-five seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and led them to four Stanly Cup championships in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955.

He continued with exceptional performance throughout his career, winning individual trophies and setting a new record. At the end of the 1970-1971 season, he retired from the NHL. He took up a role at Detroit’s front office but he did not last in that position as he decided to get on the ice again, this time with his sons. He moved to the WHA and joined the Houston Aeros team in 1973. The Gordie led Aeros won back-to-back WHA titles from his first season with the team. 1977 saw Howe move to the WHA’s New England Whalers. They finally got into the NHL in 1979 which marked the final season for the Babe Ruth of Hockey.

Major Achievements

Six Decades Strong

Howe took the ice across six straight decades throughout his professional career. Signing for the Detroit Red Wings in 1946, he played his final game for the Hartford Whalers in 1980.

Four Stanley Cup Wins

In less than 10 years of his arrival at the Detroit Red Wings in 1946, he was able to help the team secure four Stanley Cup championships. He recorded a nine-goal and 20 point run in the 1954-1955 Stanley Cup.

Wins Art Ross Title for Four Seasons in a Roll

This title was introduced into the NHL before the 1947-1948 season and it was awarded to the league’s top scorer. Howe won his first in the 1951 season with the Red Wings and went on to win every other season until 1954. He also won it in 1957 and 1963 before he retired from the game.

Howe at 40

At age 40, Howe set an extremely mind-blowing history, smashing all of his competition. The game has recorded players that scored when they were over 40 but Gordie went above and beyond, scoring 44 goals and 103 points. This was the highest-scoring season of his career – 1968-1969.

Howe and Sons

Howe stated that this was his greatest accomplishment – having to play with his sons. One can argue that this does not come close to the Stanly Cup wins and scoring accolades but he saw this as his greatest accomplishment as a hockey player.

Gordie Howe had a career record of 1,850 points and 801 goals in 1,767 NHL games, all of which were broken by Wayne Gretzky after his retirement. His prowess on the ice and how he handled the puck are all part of the reasons he was named on the “100 Greatest NHL Players” list and named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.