Skip to main content

Brother vs. Brother: Gordie and Vic Howe

If there is anybody who could understand what it was like to be Brent or Keith Gretzky, it was Vic Howe.

Vic, the younger and smaller brother of the legendary Gordie Howe, could appreciate the unfair pressure placed upon Wayne Gretzky's siblings. Coming from the same family everyone expects you to be similar to the most successful brother, and if you faltered early you were considered to be a big bust.

"Being Gordie's brother was great," admitted Vic. "But trying to play like him, well, that was another story! At times there was a great deal of pressure on me. I know I put a lot of pressure on myself."

"There was never any doubt in my mind that Gordie was a better player than me. But it just seemed that every time I turned around, somebody was always comparing the two of us. It was just something I had to live with."

Vic recalled a specific incident back in Saskatoon with the WHL that he would relive in his career several times.

"I had a breakaway and I went in on goal but had some trouble putting the puck past the goalie." said Vic, who like Gordie played right wing. "I missed the shot. I got back over to the bench and sat down and our coach, Doug Bentley, stepped behind me and said 'Gordie wouldn't have missed that shot.' So it didn't matter what I did. It would never be good enough."

Vic Howe never seriously pursued a hockey career until his brother turned pro. Ironically, he likely never would have been given a shot at the NHL if he wasn't the brother of Gordie Howe.

Vic played parts of 3 seasons with the New York Rangers - 33 games in total - and scoring 3 goals and 7 points. His biggest highlight was getting a chance to play against Detroit and his brother.

"I can remember playing against Gordie a couple of times. I even recall lining up against him and then having to go into the corner against him for a puck. He took it easy on me and didn't give me any of the elbows he is famous for!"

"The second time I played the Wings was an amazing time because I scored the tying goal in the third period. When the goal went in, Gordie was sitting on the bench and let out a 'Yeah!'"

When he wasn't making a rare appearance with the Rangers, Vic bounced around the minor league circuit. He played in 6 different leagues ranging from Nelson British Columbia to the British Isles - where he played with the Harringay Racers.

Vic returned to Canada and became a constable for the Canadian National Railway in Moncton, New Brunswick.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M