March 31, 2006
When Gordie Howe came to Detroit, no one really knew much about the big kid. The most common question he was asked was "Are you related to Syd Howe?"
The answer is no, they aren't related. But for Gordie at that time, it was quite an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as the great Syd Howe. Syd retired the summer before Gordie arrived for his first training camp. At the time of his retirement, Syd was the NHL's all time leading scorer.
Syd bounced around the league before finding a permanent home in the Motor City. He appeared with the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Quakers and St. Louis Eagles before being sold Detroit in 1935.
Former Wings owner credited Syd with creating interest in hockey in Detroit, years before it became known as "Hockeytown." Howe was also a major part of the 1936, 1937 and 1943 Stanley Cup championships. A versatile player who played in all positions except goal, Syd was used primarily at center and on left wing by the Wings. A remarkably consistent player, Howe's best season came in 1943-44 when he scored a career high 32 goals and 60 points.
Perhaps Howe's greatest game came on February 3, 1944. In that game, line mates Don "Count" Gosso and Mud Bruneteau set up Howe for 6 goals in one game! "I had a good
chance to break the all time record (Joe Malone's 7 in 1920) but I couldn't do it."
Howe is quick to point out a couple of other nights that he says he got more satisfaction from.
One was on March 19, 1940 when he set a record (since beaten) for the fastest overtime goal in the playoffs.
"The other time I'll never forget is the night Detroit fans gave me toward the end of my career. I got a lot of gifts, including a piano. You know how it is when they give you a night. It usually turns out that team gets beat and you can't come close to scoring. I was a lot luckier. We beat the Black Hawks, 2-0 and I scored both goals."
Syd retired in the 1945-46 season although did play senior hockey for a few seasons afterwards. Upon his retirement he had 237 goals and 291 assists for an all time leading 528 points.
Due to the overshadowing created by his name-sake in Gordie Howe, it is unfortunate Syd Howe's true greatness is no longer remembered. Instead today's fans ask "Is he related to Gordie Howe?" in a weird 180 degree turn of events. Hopefully this website gives a little justice to the greatness of Sydney Harris Howe.
Posted by Joe Pelletier at 1:41 am