My Meeting with Gordie Howe, July 1999

I had the priviledge to meet one of the greatest hockey players of all time, Gordie Howe, at the World Hockey Association's Reunion, held in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in July 1999. I was there because I wrote a book on the old WHA (the one Gordie is holding in the photo). You can still buy the books: I have a web page set up for my books on the WHA, with ordering info and all that fun stuff. Anyway, back to Gordie.

I took the scenic route to Windsor, flying to Chicago via Dallas, and renting a car, driving to Detroit then into Windsor. I was beat and in need of a shower when I got to the hotel. After I checked in, I went to the elevators to get to my room. When one opened up, I waited for all the people to exit it. The last guy kindly held open the door for me ... it was Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe!

At the actual reunion, I filmed a piece for the CBC-Windsor, then got to meet with all the players and executives. Gordie Howe was surrounded by his "people" so you couldn't just walk up to him. However, I showed one guy my book and he was able to get me a few minutes to talk with Gordie. Here we are, talking hockey. I had someone shoot our photograph, otherwise no one would ever believe me.

Gordie Howe was as kind as I'd read him to be. Very soft-spoken and friendly. On the ice, he was a complete player: top scorer and one of the best fighters ever. He played 32 seasons, stretching from 1947 to 1980! He was 52 when he retired, and probably could have played another few seasons. We talked for maybe ten minutes. A real nice guy!

I had a blast at the rest of the reunion, meeting other hockey greats, too. Bobby Hull was there and I got to shake hands but he was overwhelmed with well-wishers so we never actually got to talk.