During my 5 years as the play by play voice of the old IHL Long Beach Ice Dogs I met many hockey people that I still keep in touch with today. One of the most special is Mark Howe who’s such a down to earth quality guy (maybe not the norm for the son of a legend) who’s always been so easy to get to know. And today was special to take the red-eye from LAX to make it to Toronto just in time to see Mark along with Joe Niewundyk, Ed Belfour, and Doug Gilmour get to show off their rings to the media before their big Hockey Hall of Fame inductions night.
Although Mark’s brother (and longtime teammate) Marty was an assistant coach in Chicago when I was with the Dogs, I had never met him so today Mark introduced us and Marty (who runs all of his father’s business) was just as open and fun as the rest of the family. We exchanged a few IHL and family stories and then it was up to the stage to get a few pictures with his father Gordie, who I once chatted with so long while waiting for our planes to leave after the Montreal NHL All-Star game…that he almost missed his take-off.
Gordie is suffering from a form of dementia that mostly affects him when he’s tired. But he was in rare excellent form on this perfect day for the ultimate hockey family. And he was his old playful self with me too when I asked him a few questions on and off the record. Mr. Hockey told me some stories of several of the older hall of famers while reading their plaques together. But the most fun of all was when he would kid me while taking the pictures you see here. Gordy actually elbowed me (for real) in the chin and I have to give credit to the guy holding my camera to catch that ‘shot’ as he did. I was stunned like the hundreds of skaters who also got that legendary elbow in the kisser.
The following is my scrum with Mark and Gordie Howe and his introduction to pick up his ring. It truly was Hockey Hall of Fame night in Canada…And Howe!…
Mark Howe intro to media:
Mark Howe with Ted Sobel:
Gordie Howe with Ted Sobel: