Coyotes' Tippett recalls career overlap with 'great human being' Gordie Howe
Gordie Howe while finishing his NHL career with the Hartford Whalers.
PHOENIX -- When Arizona Coyotes Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and head coach Dave Tippett started his NHL playing career with the Hartford Whalers in the early 1980s, one of his teammates was Marty Howe, son of hockey legend Gordie Howe.
Tippett said that during his two seasons playing alongside Marty, Gordie would skate with the team.
"To have Gordie out on the ice with us and skate with us was an incredible feeling," Tippett said.
Known as Mr. Hockey, Howe died last Friday at age 88.
Howe was 55-years-old when he joined the Whalers on the ice, just three years after he retired from professional hockey.
Howe's hockey legacy spans five decades. He won four Stanley Cup titles with the Detroit Red Wings and won the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP six times.
He started his career in the NHL in 1946 with Detroit and first retired in 1971. Then, he came out of retirement in 1973 to play for the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association and retired again from the NHL in 1980 as a member of the Hartford Whalers. He played one game for the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League in 1997.
Tippett first encountered the International Hockey Hall of Famer when he was an autograph-seeking kid while Howe was playing for the Red Wings. It was years later that he got to meet Howe face to face, on Tippett's first day in the NHL.
"It was an incredible honor to meet him because when I was a kid I got his autograph when he was playing for Detroit," Tippett said. "So, to actually meet him, and not from an autograph session, to meet him as a man was very memorable."
Tippett said that encounter confirmed all that he believed about Howe.
"Everything you heard about was just a true professional, just a great human being and after meeting him, it just solidified that," Tippett said.