Tag Archives: Hockey

Mr. Hockey

Trading Card of Gordie Howe

Trading card photo of Gordie Howe as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. These cards were printed on the backs of Chex cereal boxes in the US and Canada from 1963 to 1965. Those collecting the cards cut them from the back of the boxes.

Gordie Howe, a great Canadian hockey legend, known for, among other feats, for his Hat Trick.

Here are a few facts:

* Born on March 31, 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan.

* Died on June 10, 2016 in Toledo, Ohio at the age of 88.

* He was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

* He was ambidextrous.

* Played from 1946-1971 and 1973-1980.

* He was nicknamed Mr. Hockey.

* A 23-time NHL All-Star, he held many of the sport’s scoring records until they were broken in the 1980s by Wayne Gretzky. He continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played.

* He won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings four times, won six Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player, and won six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.

* Howe was most famous for his scoring prowess, physical stamina and career longevity. He is the only player to have competed in the NHL In five different decades (1940s through 1980s). Although he only accomplished the task twice in his own career, he became the namesake of the “Gordie Howe hat trick”: a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

* He was slightly dyslexic growing up, however, he was physically beyond his years at an early age. Already six feet tall in his mid-teens, doctors feared a calcium deficiency and encouraged him to strengthen his spine with chin-ups. He started playing organised hockey at eight years old. Howe quit school during the Depression to work In construction with his father, then left Saskatoon at sixteen to pursue his hockey career.

* Howe was an ambidextrous player, one of just a few skaters able to use the straight sticks of his era to shoot either left or right-handed.

* He experienced his first taste of professional hockey at age 15 in 1943 when he was invited by the New York Rangers to their training camp held at “The Amphitheatre” in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He played so well that the Rangers wanted Howe to sign a “C” form which would have given that club his NHL rights and to play that year at Notre Dame, a Catholic school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, which had a reputation for discovering good hockey players. Howe wanted to go back home to play hockey with his friends, and declined the Rangers’ offer and returned to Saskatoon.



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Hockey Legend Gordie Howe

On October 26, 2014, Howe suffered a stroke in Lubbock, Texas, and as a result has lost some function on the right side of his body.  As we send him and his family our thoughts and prayers, let me introduce you to Gordie Howe.

Gordie Howe Trading Card

Gordie Howe trading card via Chex cereal,
Ralston-Purina Company.

He was born on March 31, 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan.  He grew up mildly dyslexic, and by his mid-teen years he was already six feet tall.  Doctors feared a calcium deficiency and encouraged him to strengthen his spine with chin-ups. He began playing organized hockey at eight years old, then left Saskatoon at sixteen to pursue his hockey career.  Howe was an ambidextrous player, one of just a few skaters able to use the straight sticks of his era to shoot either left- or right-handed.

Howe made his NHL début on October 16, 1946 playing right-wing for the Detroit Red Wings, scoring in his first game at the age of 18.

He established himself as a great goal scorer and a gifted playmaker with a willingness to fight. Howe fought so often in his rookie season that coach Jack Adams told him, “I know you can fight. Now can you show me you can play hockey?” The term “Gordie Howe hat trick” (consisting of a goal, an assist, and a fight) was coined in reference to his penchant for fighting; however, Howe himself only recorded two such hat tricks in his career, on October 10, 1953, and March 21, 1954.

Please note that a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” is not the same as a “hat trick.”  A “hat trick” means scoring three goals in a single match.  There are a few stories out there about the origin of the term “hat trick,”  but the one that is most often told is of Montreal hatter Henri Henri, that between 1950 and 1970 he would reward any NHL player who scored three or more goals in a game at the Montreal Forum with a free hat.

As Howe emerged as one of the game’s superstars, he was often compared to the Montreal Canadiens’ Maurice “Rocket” Richard. Both were right wingers who wore the number 9, were often contenders for the league scoring title, and could also play rough if needed. During their first meet in the Montreal Forum, when Howe was a rookie, he knocked Richard out cold with a punch after being shoved.

Howe has set many records that have not been surpassed, such as:

  • Most NHL regular season games played: 1,767
  • Most NHL regular season games played with a single team: 1,687
  • Most NHL and WHA regular season games played: 2,186
  • Most NHL and WHA regular season and playoff games played: 2,421
  • Most NHL seasons played: 26 (tied with Chris Chelios)
  • Most NHL and WHA seasons played: 32
  • Most NHL regular season goals by a right-winger: 801
  • Most NHL regular season points by a right-winger: 1,850
  • Most NHL regular season points by a father/son combo (with son Mark): 2,592
  • Most consecutive NHL 20-goal seasons: 22 (1949–1971)
  • First player to score over 1000 goals (WHA and NHL, regular season and playoff combined)
  • First player to reach 1,500 games played in NHL history.
  • Most times leading NHL playoffs in scoring (six times)
  • Oldest player to play in NHL: 52 years, 11 days (no other player has played past the age of 48)
  • First in Red Wings history in points, goals and games played, second in assists
  • Most NHL All-Star Game appearances: 23

Canadian actor Michael Shanks portrayed Howe in the Hallmark movie Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story. The film aired April 28, 2013 on CBC and on the Hallmark Channel in the US on May 5.

We wish you speedy recovery, health and peace.


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Do You Know … ?

Image     How many points did the infamous Wayne Gretzky score in his 20-year career?

Scroll down to see the answer …

Wayne Gretzky Statue

Wayne Gretzky Statue (Photo credit: MDV)




Wayne Gretzky scored 2,857 points during his 20 years career in hockey!

To learn more about points in hockey, just check out Wikipedia.


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King Charles II granted HBC Charter

Hudson' Bay Company

Hudson’ Bay Company (Photo credit: Gregalicious)


On May 2, 1670, King Charles II granted a charter to the “Merchant Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay,” which came to be known as the Hudson’s Bay Company.  It was a momentous charter in the history of Canada.

The head of the company was the king’s cousin, Prince Rupert, who rated in warfare as Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky do in hockey.  He would go into battle clad in scarlet, adorned with silver lace, and mounted on a black Arabian charger.  He was also a good mathematician, understood chemistry and made gunpowder.  The trading area granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company was known as Rupert’s Land, which extended from Labrador to the Rocky Mountains (although the Rockies had not then been seen by white men).

The company was given absolute power to control the fur trade, rule the inhabitants, make laws and even go to war.  Its duties included finding the Northwest Passage to China, gold, silver and anything precious.  It was not required to bring in settlers, or try to convert Indians to Christianity, as was the Company of New France.  In fact, 100 years passed before a priest went to the trading posts.

There was a condition that if the king visited the area he must be given two black elks and two black beaver skins.  These were given to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they visited Winnipeg in 1939.

The company nearly always made a good profit, sometimes as high as 200 percent in a single year, but it had its lean years as well, especially when it was in competition with the Northwest Company, a rivalry that came close to civil war.

The activities of the company were also challenged by France.  In October, only a few months after it had been formed, Intendant Talon sent a mission to Hudson Bay where the Le Moyne brothers of Montreal captured the Hudson’s Bay Company posts.  The most famous Le Moyne of them all, Iberville, won the biggest naval victory in French history in Hudson Bay.

Despite the opposition, the Hudson’s Bay Company was a major force in the development of Canada.

The birth of Hudson’s Bay Company is such an important part of Canada, that I am sure some of you will want to read more about it. So, a few places to start looking is CBC Learning – a People’s History; BC Heritage – Family Album; The Government of Manitoba website; Canada; from the University of Alberta – Hudson’s Bay Company: Incorporated 2nd May 1670: A brief history; and The Canadian Encyclopedia.


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Like the “Three Stars” of Hockey

English: The Chevalier de Lévis rallies the Fr...

The Chevalier de Lévis rallies the French army before the Battle of Sainte-Foy. Online at Canadian Military Heritage, Department of Defence. Vertical crop for better fit in battlebox. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When the hockey experts pick their “three stars”, they usually choose two players from the winners and one from the losers.  For much of the same reason, history has not given Montcalm and Lévis the recognition they deserve as great soldiers.

François Gaston, Chevalier de Lévis, was one of Montcalm’s most valuable officers.  He refused to give up the battle for Canada after the fall of Quebec and spent the winter of 1759-1760 in Montreal building up a new army.  The British had not been able to capture Montreal in the autumn of 1759 because the news of Wolfe’s victory at Quebec reached General Amherst too late in the year.

By April 1760, General Lévis had recruited 7,000 men and was ready to try to recapture Quebec.  One of his biggest problems was to transport this large force down the St. Lawrence river without being detected.  He manage this, somehow or other, and landed at Cap Rouge (where the Quebec Bridge is), on a wild, rainy night.

Unfortunately for Lévis, at this moment one of his men fell overboard, but saved himself by grabbing a large piece of floating ice.  A British sloop, patrolling off Quebec, heard the man’s cries and picked him up.  He was brought before General Murray, commander of the garrison at Quebec, at three in the morning.  He told the general everything.  Murray had just enough time to blow up an ammunition dump at Sainte Foy, so that it would not fall into Lévis’ hands, and to set up a line of defence outside the city walls.

The battle of Sainte Foy was fought on April 28, 1760, and was one of the bloodiest in Canadian history.  Murray was beaten and had to return to Quebec.  Each side lost 1,000 men.  Now it was a question of time.  Murray hoped he could hold on until British reinforcements could get up the St. Lawrence.  Lévis knew he had to bombard the city into submission before that happened.  Murray was the victor eventually, because British ships began to arrive on May 10, before Lévis was able to break through.  The French had to return to Montreal to get ready to fight again.

You probably want to read more about the battle of Sainte-Foy, so here are a few places to go to for that: there’s Wikipedia, and‘s article by Kennedy Hickman, and Weapons and Warfare blog. And if you’d prefer to hold a book in your hands to learn, there’s Canadian Military Heritage, 1000 – 1754


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Bandy: a Hockey Wannabe?

World map showing 27 of the 28 members of the ...

World map showing 27 of the 28 members of the Federation of International Bandy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My second post for the day. If you’ve read comments left on this blog, you will have read one of my visitors asking about a game called “bandy.”  I’d never heard of it, and apparently it’s a game that has gone international, including in Canada.  So here are a few things I’ve learned about the sport.

  • Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice.
  • Skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal.
  • It’s played on a rectangle of ice which is the same size as a football / soccer field.
  • Each team has ten players plus a goalkeeper.
  • A standard bandy match consists of two halves of 45 minutes each.
  • Players aren’t allowed to touch the ball with their heads, hands or arms, or else they get a 5 minute penalty.
  • The Bandy World Championship for men were first held in 1957, and then every 2 years starting in 1961, and every year since 2003.
  • Currently, the record total number of countries participating in the World Championship is 14.
  • Finland won the 2004 World Championships.  All other championships have been won by the Soviet Union, Russia and Sweden.
  • In February 2004, Sweden won the first World Championships for Women.  The second women’s World Championship, held in Roseville, Minnesota, in the United States in 2006, won again by Sweden, defeating Russia in the final (3-1).
  • The Federation of International Bandy (FIB) has 29 members (2012).
  • In 2001, the International Olympic Committee approved it as a “recognized sport.”
  • At the 2014 Winter Olympics, bandy will be presented within the cultural programme, and the International Federation is trying to become a full medal sort in Pyeongchang 2018.

Once I started looking into bandy, I found many sites that discuss and teaches us.  The first I’ll suggest is the Bandy Quebec; then there’s the Federation of International Bandy; and thanks to Wayback Machine, we can view a history of bandy; and if you still want to know more, there is an extensive list of links at


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Main Street Ontario

Dundas Square / Yonge Street

Dundas Square / Yonge Street (Photo credit: rthakrar)


Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, about 1890

Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, about 1890 (Photo credit: Musée McCord Museum)


On December 28, 1795, the construction of Yonge Street began In York, Upper Canada.  It was touted as being the longest street in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records!  It was an impressive — especially at the time — 1,896 km (1,178 mi.).


Yonge Street has been referred as Main Street Ontario.


The street was named by Ontario’s first colonial administrator for his friend Sir George Yonge, who was an expert on Ancient Roman roads.


With the outbreak of hostilities between France and Great Britain in 1793, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (now it’s Ontario), John Graves Simcoe was worried about the possibility of the United States entering British North America in support of their French allies.


Simcoe planned to move the capital to a better protected location. And so Simcoe established York (now it’s Toronto) with its naturally enclosed harbour, as a defensible site for the new capital.


The road almost served a military purpose during the war of 1812, when construction of a new fleet of first-rate ships began on the lakes, necessitating the shipment of a large anchor from England for use on a frigate under construction on Lake Huron. However, the war ended hole the anchor was still being moved. It now lies just outside Holland Landing in a park named in it’s honour.


Earlier I wrote about Yonge Street recognized by Guinness a world Records. I need to amend that. Actually, Guinness amended that in the late 1990s. See, Highway 11 connected with Yonge street. Even though Yonge was never mentioned, everybody “just assumed” that both were the same. So it’s now cited instead as the World’s longest “motor able road.”


Yonge Street is Toronto’s Main Street. It hosts parades, street performances and demonstrations. For instance, when the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, an estimated 1,000,000 people gathered along Yonge and Dundas Streets. This was repeated again during the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2010, when the Canadian men’s hockey team defeated the United States team for the gold medal.


The early works of Canadian singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot were featured at the Yonge Street location of Sam the Record Man, at a time when records by native musicians were not widely available. Lightfoot has a song about Yonge Street — on the album A Painter Passing Through — called “On Yonge Street.” Also, Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn made reference in his song, “Coldest Night of the Year.”


Proudly, the five-pin bowling game was invented and first played at the Toronto Bowling Club at Yonge and Temperance Streets.




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