Gordie Howe was once quoted as saying "Hockey is a man's game." In the game of hockey, Gordie is the man.
Hall of Famer Bill Gadsby claimed "He was not only the greatest hockey player I've ever seen, but also the greatest athlete."
The right winger was a giant in his time at 6'1" and 205 lbs. He had the build of a heavyweight boxing champion. And he knew how to fight.
Part of the legend of Gordie Howe is his unmatchable toughness. He had "windshield wiper elbows" and like to give "close shaves" to anyone who dared to challenge. Ask any hockey experts who they'd choose as the toughest NHLer ever, and most would put their money on Gordie Howe against anyone else.
Those who knew Gordie away from the rink would never believe his on ice instincts.
"Despite an even temperament and a real distaste for combat, there is a part of Howe that is calculatingly and primitively savage," Mark Kram wrote in Sports Illustrated in 1964. "He is a punishing artist with a hockey stick, slashing, spearing, tripping and high-sticking his way to a comparative degree of solitude on the ice."
Read the full Gordie Howe biography.