3. Passing The Rocket
Gordie Howe had a close friendship with rival forward Maurice “The Rocket” Richard. The friendship and respect was mutual, as when Richard retired in 1960, he credited Howe by saying that “Gordie Howe could do it all”. And he could. Few moments in Howe’s career were as memorable as his 545th career goal, which surpassed Richard’s 544.
With that goal, Howe became the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer. Since then, Gretzky has passed Howe. However, consider that Gretzky played during an era known for its offense. Yes, Gretzky had a huge role in making that era all about offense. Compare that to the low-scoring era that Howe played in. The fact that Howe managed to score 801 goals despite scoring more than 40 goals in a season just five times (compared to Gretzky’s 12 times) is a testament to how consistent and how great Gordie Howe was.
Gretzky skated circles around everybody to score goals. And who can blame him for that? Score goals however you can score them. But Howe had to rely on his size and strength more than Gretzky. Back when Howe played, players usually had to pay a very expensive toll to score goals. Howe was the reason that guys like Gretzky were able to come along and crush his records. And there was nobody happier to see his records be broken than Gordie Howe himself.
Next: 2. His Greatest Season