HHOF Profile: Mark Howe

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Being the son of a man with the stature of Gordie Howe can have its problems with standards of play. Gordie Howe was player of a different time and yet a player still used as a measuring stick for toughness. Howe is generally mentioned alongside the Bobby Orr’s and Wayne Gretzky’s of the NHL but is a different breed. The only thing you really need to know about Gordie Howe is that his name is now used as an accomplishment in the NHL. A Gordie Howe hat trick in the NHL is when a player gets and assist, goal, and a fight in one game. This is what Gordie Howe is known for as he was one of the toughest players to ever step on the ice. With this type of father there was never any question that Mark Howe would be a hockey player from when he grew up in Detroit. While his father played for the Detroit Red Wings Mark Howe began his love for hockey among Hockeyville USA’s minor league system. While playing minor hockey for the Tier II Junior Red Wings he got 107 points while at the age of 15. Howe made his way through the long winding road to the NHL playing for national teams and major junior teams in Canada but eventually ended up one step away in the World Hockey Association (WHA). While starting in the WHA the Howe family made history as Mark would play with the Houston Aeros where his brother, Marty Howe, was already playing. With brothers Mark and Marty on the team the WHA convinced their father Gordie Howe to come out of retirement and play with the Aeros. Gordie did just that making the Howe family the first father son pair to play on the same team and on the same line. With his family beside him Mark earned the rookie of the year award in the WHA as a winger. As Mark continued through his career he made the transition to defence where he made his mark as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. The comparisons never stopped for Mark as his father always loomed over him and Mark did not help the situation when he signed with the Detroit Red Wings, his hometown team and the team on which his father made his mark. Mark will now follow his father again as he will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame and join his father among the few players in the sanctuary of players.

Howe may always be in his father’s shadow but he is more than just Gordie’s son as he became one of the best two-way defenceman in the NHL. A big part of this was his start at the Tier II Junior Red Wings when he played left wing and earned 107 points as a 15 year old. With this offensive ability Howe moved through the major junior leagues as a winger and entered the WHA as a Left Winger. While playing with his family in Houston Howe earned 38 goals and won the Lou Kaplan Trophy for the Rookie of the year in the WHA. Howe remained one of the best players in the WHA and had his best season in the last year of the WHA. While with the New England Whalers Howe scored 42 goals and had 65 assists equaling is minor league total of 107 points. While in the WHA Howe began to make the transition to defence but remained a very powerful weapon at the blue line. When the New England franchise moved to the NHL Howe moved with them to Hartford and many assumed that the WHA players would struggle with the transition but Howe disproved all of their theories. In his first season in the NHL Howe continued to play winger and defence and earned 80 points, including 24 goals, in 74 games solidifying his spot as a defenceman that everyone has to watch on both sides of the ice.  In 1982 Howe left the Whalers after a serious injury when he hit a goalpost, they did not dislodge at the time, and suffered a serious cut when the slightly elevated net pierced his lower back. When the Whalers did not get the performance that had hoped for they traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers where he stayed for 10 years and recovered from the injury. In 1985 Howe had his best season earning 82 points and going +85. Howe continued to play as a top-tier two-way defenceman for the Flyers and was always a threat to get something going on offence while plying on the blue line. Near the end of his career Howe may have had his greatest personal accomplishment when he signed with his hometown team and his father’s old team the Detroit Red Wings. He did not make a big impact with the Wings but the fact that he was playing for the team that he idolized as a kid was reward enough. Overall Howe is still known as one of the best two-way defenceman to play in the NHL. With only two seasons as a minus defenceman and a total of 742 point in 929 games in the NHL Howe will always remain one of the best. Howe will join his father in the Hall but will go in for his own accomplishments as he will always be remembered as this great two-way player.


Mark Howe, LW/D (1973-1995)

5’11” 190 lbs

Philadelphia Flyers (10 years)

929 GP (426 WHA)

197 G (208 WHA)

545 A (296 WHA)

742 P (504 WHA)

455 PIM (198 PIM)

+400 +/-

– Lou Kaplan Trophy (1974)
– 4 NHL All-Star Selections (1981, 1983, 1986, 1988)

– WHA First Team All-Star (1979)

– NHL First Team All-Star (1983, 1986, 1987)

– NHL Plus/Minus Leader (1986)

– Also Played with Hou. Aeros (’73-’76), N.E. Whalers (’77-’79), Har. Whalers (’79-’82), and Det. Red Wings (’92-’95)

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  1. […] Hall of Famers. The Class of 2011 included Joe Nieuwendyk, Mark Howe, Doug Gilmour, and Ed Belfour. Mark Howe was always in the shadow of his father aka Mr. Hockey, aka Gordie Howe. He stepped out of this […]

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