Mr. Hockey, one of the names and faces the would undoubtedly be on the Mt. Rushmore of hockey, Gordie Howe, has suffered a serious stroke, according to the family. According to Howe’s daughter, Cathy Purnell, he is having difficulty speaking and has lost some function on the right side of his body. Howe suffered the stroke in Texas, and is recovering in his daughter’s house in Lubbock, his son told The Detroit News. His son, Dr. Murray Howe, is the director of radiology at Toledo Hospital in Ohio.
“Basically, sometime in the early morning on Sunday he suffered a pretty bad stroke,” Dr. Howe told the News. “The right side of his body is very, very weak. He’s unable to stand without help. He’s able to speak, but very, very difficult to speak. He knows who he is. He knows the people around him. But it is very difficult for him to get up and walk around. So he is pretty much confined to his bed right now. So we’re just trying to keep him comfortable, and that’s our goal.”
On the Wednesday following the stroke, the Howe family released the following statement:
“The Howe family would like to thank friends, family and fans for your overwhelming well-wishes, prayers and support for Gordie,” the statement read. “He suffered a significant stroke on Sunday morning while at his daughter’s home in Lubbock, Texas. His condition remains guarded although he is showing some signs of improvement. We acknowledge that there is a long road to recovery ahead, but Dad’s spirits are good and his competitive attitude remains strong.”
Howe played in five different decades, including a game in his fifties with his sons. His number nine hangs from the rafter in Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings, as well as for Houston Aeros and Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes. He coined the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”: a goal, an assist, and a fight. He was a notorious man in the boards, throwing his body and his elbows around. He earned the nickname: “Mr. Hockey”. One of the most complete players, one that could score, pass, and hit. He is a true icon in hockey.
His NHL Stats: 1,767 regular season games; 801 goals, 1,049 assists, 1,850 points, +87 rating, 1,685 penalty minutes. Add to that 157 playoff games played; 68 playoff goals; 92 playoff assists; 160 playoff points; 220 playoff penalty minutes.
Howe is four-time Stanley Cup Champion, 23-time All-Star, a six-time Hart Trophy winner, a six-time Art Ross Trophy Winner, and the inaugural winner of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
The hashtag #PrayForHowe was trending on Twitter. Our hearts and prayers go out for a speedy recovery for Mr. Hockey.
ESPN.com’s Craig Custance and The Associated Press contributed information for this article