By: Will Burchfield
“This will be like coming home for me,” said Murray Howe, “bringing Dad back to Detroit to the new stadium.”
On Dec. 15, when the Red Wings host the Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena, Howe will be on hand to greet fans and sign copies of his recently-released book, ‘Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father.’
Currently the No. 3 bestseller in Canada, the book paints a portrait of Gordie Howe that reveals the man behind the legend. In ‘Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father,’ Howe isn’t so much Mr. Hockey as he is simply Dad.
Murray Howe is Gordie’s youngest son.
‘Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father’ is born of the eulogy that Murray delivered at Gordie’s funeral last year. Murray introduced to the audience a side of his father that many had never seen. Most of all, Gordie was a teacher. He showed those around him how to live a life of which you can be proud.
His lessons are manifested in his children.
Per an official release, “The book will take the reader through the hours Murray spent writing the eulogy — the hours immediately after his father’s death, as he gathers his thoughts and memories, and makes sense of what his remarkable father meant to him. The result is nine lessons, built out of hundreds of stories, that…give us a glimpse of what we can learn from this incredible life.”
Just prior to the book’s release, Murray sat down with Wayne Gretzky, a close family friend of the Howes, to share some of the highlights. In one story, Murray described how Gordie was “endlessly, tirelessly playful” with his kids:
“One of my most indelible memories happened after tagging along with Dad to Olympia for the Red Wings’ practice. I was about five, and had the hallowed Wings ice surface all to myself while the players suited up. I was having a blast flying around the rink, the imaginary packed house cheering me on as I bobbed and weaved past invisible defencemen. Suddenly, my skates flew out from underneath me as if whacked by an invisible stick.
“I heard a laugh echoing from the far end of the rink, and there was my dad, arms raised overhead in the gesture any hockey fan knows means “GOAL!” He had stepped onto the far end of the rink, still in his dress clothes, and fired a blistering wrist-shot that hit my skates mid-stride. Only Mr. Hockey could do that on the first try! I might be the only kid in history who enjoyed being knocked on his keister by his dad.”
Howe’s Dec. 15 book signing is a fundraiser for the Red Wings Foundation — philanthropy was always important to his father.
“I’ll be signing books from 5 pm until the last fan leaves,” Howe said. “Should be a night to remember.”