Prominent citizens of the hockey world on Saturday continued to pay tribute to “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe, who died Friday at 88.
“When you think of hockey, that’s who you think of,” Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby said Saturday after his team practiced in advance of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. “He’s a role model for a lot of people, including myself.”
Crosby said he considered himself “pretty fortunate” to have met the Hall of Famer, but even those who never met Howe were impressed by his legendary toughness and longevity as well as his humility. Howe turned 52 during his last professional season and scored 15 goals playing alongside two of his sons, Mark and Marty.
“That’s crazy, isn’t it?” Sharks forward Logan Couture said.
“You just think of his name and you think of the sport and how long he played and all the points. From what I’ve heard from people who have met him, he was an even better person. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him.”
The NHL is expected to pay tribute to Howe before Sunday’s game at SAP Center, but a league spokesman said specific details had not been finalized as of mid-afternoon Saturday.
Detroit Red Wings star Gordie Howe (9) checks a Chicago Blackhawks player into the boards during an NHL game in Detroit in the mid-1950s.(Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images)
Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his 545th goal, setting the NHL career record, in a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 10, 1963 in Detroit.(Bruce Bennett)
Rangers goalie Jacques Plante, left, tries to keep Gordie Howe (9) from scoring on Nov. 7, 1963, at Madison Square Garden in New York.(B Bennett / Getty Images)
Detroit Red Wings star Gordie Howe signs autographs in Montreal in the 1950s.(Denis Brodeur / Getty Images)
The Detroit Red Wings had one of the most successful lines in NHL history in the late 1940s and early 1950s with the “Production Line” of Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel. The line reunited in 1964 when Howe, left, and Lindsay, right, played for Abel, who became the coach.(Bruce Bennett)
Gordie Howe (9) beats goalie Johnny Bower and Larry Hillman of the Toronto Maple Leafs to score in the 1960s.(Bruce Bennett)
Gordie Howe of the Red Wings lies in a Detroit hospital after going head-first into the boards during Game 1 of a playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 28, 1950. He is visited by his brother Vic, mother Kathleen and sister Gladys Tyell.(Bruce Bennett)
Gordie Howe shoots against Gilles Marotte of the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 29, 1967 in Detroit.(Bruce Bennett)
Gordie Howe listens records at the home he shared with teammate Ted Lindsay in 1951.(Bruce Bennett)
In this photo from Feb. 16, 1951, Detroit Red Wings star Gordie Howe, left, works with teammate Ted Lindsay at his workshop in the basement of his home in Detroit.(Bruce Bennett)
Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings slips the puck past New York Rangers goalie Johnny Bower for his 215th career goal, on Nov. 11, 1953 in New York.(Associated Press)
Detroit Red Wings star Gordie Howe, second from right, and teammates and coaches celebrate after winning the Stanley Cup in 1955. Howe won the Stanley Cup four times with Detroit.(Bruce Bennett )
Hockey was truly a family affair for the Howes. Colleen Howe talks to sons Marty, left, and Mark and husband Gordie on March 1, 1974, in Houston. Colleen Howe was one of the first female sports agents and an advocate for junior hockey.(Associated Press)
Hockey icon Gordie Howe poses with 11-year-old Wayne Gretzky in Brantford, Canada, on May 4, 1972. Gretzky would go on to break many of Howe’s career records.(Associated Press)
The Detroit Red Wings, who won the Stanley Cup four times while Howe wore the winged wheel, announced that a public visitation for Howe will be held Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Eastern time. Howe’s funeral will take place Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.
The Howe family has asked that, instead of sending flowers, anyone so inclined make a donation to one of three charities he favored. Those charities are the Gordie Howe Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative, based in Toledo, Ohio; the Howe Foundation, in Rochester Hills, Mich.; and the Gordie Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s Research in Saskatoon, Canada.
Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen