The SJHL will honour legend Gordie Howe this season by having all teams wear number nine patches on their jerseys.
Howe passed away this past June at the age of 88.
“Mr. Howe meant a lot to hockey and the Saskatchewan people,” SJHL president Bill Chow said in a press release on Sunday. “He is the epitome of what Saskatchewan hockey is all about: heart, soul, character, dedication and commitment.”
In the release, the SJHL said its governors wanted to honour Howe in some way because of what Howe did for his home province and the world.
Battlefords North Stars head coach and general manager Nate Bedford said choosing to honour him makes a lot of sense.
“[Howe was] one of the greatest players – there’s number 99 and number nine, and the rest just kind of fall into line after that,” Bedford said. “He was a true resemblance of what I’m finding here in Saskatchewan is big tough kids that do things the right way and are very professional on and off the ice and he’s the architect of that.”
New North Star acquisition Connor Logan also said it’s a good thing to honour 'Mr. Hockey.'
“You ask any kid and they know who Gordie Howe is,” Logan said. “It’s going to be a special thing because he means so much to the game of hockey.”
Howe played a total of 2,421 games between the NHL and WHA over the course of 25 years. He is the only NHL player to have played in five different decades, having first suited up in 1946 and then retiring after the 1979-80 season at the age of age of 52. No other player in history has played past the age of 48.
Although Howe never played in the SJHL, he grew up in Saskatoon. Chow said having Mr. Hockey come from this province is something that should never be forgotten.
Nathan Kanter is battlefordsNOW’s sports reporter and voice of the Battlefords North Stars. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @NathanKanter11
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