October 09, 2010

Two Minutes For Booking: Gordie Howe

Back in 1999 Gordie Howe and Firefly Books put out a beautiful 160 glossy page book full of great photography called Gordie Howe: My Hockey Memories.

Buy The Book: Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com - AbeBooks Canada

In this week's Two Minutes For Booking, I wanted to share several passages where Gordie comments on players that he played with and against. Who better to tell us about these great players than arguably the greatest player ever to battle against them?!

Jean Beliveau - A lot of people don't remember how tough Jean Beliveau was when he first entered the league. He was no gentleman in those days - big, fast and rough as they come. The fact that he was perceived as an elegant sportsman by the end of his career is a tribute not only to the skill with which he played the game, but also to the fact that everyone on the ice knew he could still handle himself if the going got tough.

Alex Delvecchio - Alex and I went through a lot together. His career was almost as long as mine and covered much of the same time. Steady and motivated, he rarely missed a practice and always played at the top of his game. He was good in the dressing room also, and was captain of the Wings for a lot of the time that we played together. I think the fact that he had fewer penalty minutes (383) in 24 years than some player rack up in a single season says a lot about his game. He played clean, good hockey.

Gordie's memories of Rocket Richard, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, Ted Lindsay, Terry Sawchuk and Stan Mikita after the jump . . .

Bobby Hull - Bobby was great to watch and to play against. When he skated past the bench you could feel his speed like on one else. And what a shot! He could get it away faster than anyone. And no one was as accurate. He was strong too - great upper body strength - so that with his speed and accurate shot he was difficult to contain.

Ted Lindsay - Ted was the best men at our wedding and my best friend for years. We even roomed together for several off seasons. You look at some of the gigantic kids playing hockey today - Lindros for example - and it's hard to imagine Ted at 5'10" being that tough, but he truly was a ferocious, driven, gritty player. Nothing knocked him down. Even so, he could still get the puck in the net, scoring more than 25 goals in nine separate seasons, which is always great to have.

Stan Mikita - This guy was magic with a pass, and I think he is underrated for that. A lot of the things that players like Gretzky have done from the way Stan handled the puck. He could thread a great, feathery pass through a big crowd straight to Hull's stick.

Bobby Orr - I only got to play a handful of years against Bobby but it was an experience i will always remember. On a few occasions we got the sensation of just standing around watching what he would do next. Doug Harvey had been a rushing defenseman 10 years before - which was something to watch also - but nothing really compared to Orr in his first several seasons. You really didn't know what to expect, because he broke all of the rules.

Rocket Richard - The Rocket and I had a fiery time of things right from my rookie season. I don't think I played with anyone as driven and determined as him, but I don't think I played with anyone as humorless either. He really didn't seem like a happy guy. Still, in terms of raw talent and competitiveness he was among the best ever, and his speed and nose for the net haven't been matched before or since.

Terry Sawchuk - Terry got a raw deal, I think, in terms of his reputation. Everyone just assumes that he was mean and nasty, which I rarely saw. His problem was that he was really shy, in a painful way, so when people started treating him like a hero or expecting him to get a shutout every game, he clammed up. Maybe it's because we're both prairie farm boys but he was always a good friend to me. Quiet for sure, but a good friend all the same.

You can buy Gordie Howe: My Hockey Memories at: Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

Also check my sister-website Hockey Book Reviews.com and discuss hockey books with me on Twitter @HockeyLegends.

You can also find copies of Gordie Howe: My Hockey Memories at AbeBooks:

AbeBooks.com - Find Books on Sale

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