November 22, 2011

Gordie Howe's Heroes

"Hockey is a man's game," Gordie Howe used to be fond of saying. Which is appropriate, because when it comes to hockey, Gordie Howe is the man.

Gordie's son Mark was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He did not have to look far to find his hockey hero when he was growing up.

Which begs the question - who did Gordie hero worship as a kid?

Mark "Scoop" Malinowski found out in a Getting To Know feature for The Hockey News:
"My brother Bernie was a tough defenseman. I remember grabbing his bag and dragging it through the snow when he was going overseas during the war.

"The late Alf Pike who played for New York. What he did with me...I was with the New York Rangers camp and then I was sitting there looking at everybody. Then he just grabbed my arm and said, ‘Let the kid here eat or he'll starve to death!’ So he took me in line and let me eat. Then he was really nice because he, from there, drove me over to camp. And the way he dressed is the way I dress today. I was watching him - I found a hero who helped me.

"Ab Welsh was another one. I asked for an autograph at the old City of Saskatoon rink. I walked in there - I must've said the right thing - he took me in the room and all the players signed my program. He said, ‘Do you play?’ I said, ‘Yes sir.’ That's when he went to the back room. He gave me his stick - an old three-piece stick - I'd never seen one before. I slept with the stick. So what bothered me more - was the autograph. What it meant. I said, ‘If I'm going to be a total hockey player then I better learn how to write.’ So the signature I'm using now is the one my mother picked out. So it's like a legacy every time I write. It's like a legacy toward my mom."
Malinowski's full feature can be viewed here. Find out every thing you ever wanted to know about Mr Hockey, from his favorite hockey moment to the best he ever did for himself, even though it gave him hives.

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