Skip to content

Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday sees him in his toughest battle

Mar 31, 2013, 1:21 PM EDT

Gordie Howe AP

Today is Easter Sunday but it also doubles as NHL legend Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday. With aging comes health concerns, however, and Mr. Hockey has a serious one he’s dealing with.

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports on Howe’s struggles with dementia that will likely keep him out of the public eye from here on out. Gordie’s Hall of Fame son, Mark, highlights how tough it’s been for his father lately.

“All you have to do is make oatmeal for him in the morning, then have a cookie or apple pie or chocolate ice cream before bed, and then he’s happy,” Mark said. “But if it’s not someone that he knows who’s with him, he really struggles.

“He was watching the Wings game the other night, and after two periods he put on his coat and made to leave. He said he was going to see Sid Abel at the end of the street. That’s the first I’d heard of that kind of thing. But that’s the stage he’s at.”

It’s hard to hear stories like this, especially about someone so revered by the public. For what it’s worth, Mark says Gordie is still physically strong but his memory just isn’t at the same level.

  1. eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    It’s a horrible affliction the toughest opponent the Howe’s have ever faced they will handle it with dignity and class as always !

  2. valoisvipers - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Truly sad to hear this. All the best to Gordie and his sons.

  3. bigbadbruins77 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Gordie howe hat trick

    • 19to77 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Do you people ever stop to consider just… like, NOT being classless about bloody *everything*?

      • drewzducks - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Maybe I’m missing something but the term “Gordie Howe hat trick” has always been seen, I thought, as a term of respect, signifying of course a goal, assist and fight and a tribute to the unparalleled toughness and scoring ability that only #9 displayed.

      • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        That’s HOWE I interpreted it THUMBS UP ALL DAY !

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        Yeah, my trolldar didn’t go off with that, either.

    • bigbadbruins77 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Umm yeah thanks ducks and sb. It’s a term of respect and toughness. Don’t see how anyone can see it any other way.

  4. jacketsfan7 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    That makes me so sad

  5. geshtahl - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    It’s always sad when that happens.

  6. tuberippin - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    This is sad, but at the same time it’s very impressive to me that an all-world hockey player who played in an era without helmets and who made his career off of scoring goals and kicking asses was able to make it to eighty-five years of age before his brain began to deteriorate.

  7. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    My grandma’s got dementia & it is an incredibly tough thing to see happen.

    You’re in a state of shock for a while before really come to terms (you see a hint of thay with Mark saying about Gordie’s Sid comment , “thats the first I saw of that”). I wish Gordie & his family the best & hope Gordie’s days are filled with friends, family & fun

  8. chicagobtech - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    To Mr. Howe: may your medical issue be minimal, and far between.

    To Mr. Howe’s family: may your strength be eternal, and your patience unlimited.

    Signed,
    A Blackhawks fan.

  9. govtminion - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Hell of a person, hockey aside. I wish him the best- I grew up worshipping Bobby Orr (as a Bruins fan, natch), but always loved watching old Howe highlight reels- and realizing that as I learned to play goal, there was no point in even trying to learn anything from these films, because I’d likely never face a superhuman force of nature like what Howe was.Truly a once in a generation talent, and with a personality to match.

  10. blackhawks2010 - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I hope I look this good at 85! Gordie looks like he can still lace them up. Amazing! God bless Mr. Howe

  11. handsofsweed - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Man, I wish he would have played for the Pens in the 70’s. He would have helped turn our franchise around earlier. But wishing Howe woulda played for my team makes me no different than every fan of every team that has ever lived or ever will live. Now THAT is saying something. I found myself singing along with Detroit’s crowd this afternoon, too!!

  12. irokkit - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    I was watching tv today and saw the middle of a report….I didn’t know it was Gordies b-day…i saw Gordie being, well, remembered. My heart sank.
    Love ya Gordie. I know it’s coming and I am proud to say, tears will flow…

  13. blackhawksdynasty - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    God bless you Mr. Howe.
    Thank you for the memories, and for helping to make this great sport what it is today. I wish you all the best, and a very happy birthday.

  14. eggserino - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    I watched someone deteriorate in much the same manner. If it wasn’t getting up to see someone that wasn’t there, it was concern about something that wasn’t where they left it that had been “stolen.” I hope that Mark and his family have all of the support that they can get because there is nothing easy about what’s ahead for Mr. Howe or his supporting family and friends. The only thing that I can offer is to recommend that the family learn to be quick enough to recognize the changes, patient enough to recognize that this is part of the process and not Gordie behaving badly, and strong enough to recognize the man for what he was and what he is every single day that he lives.

    Best of luck to you, Gordie Howe and the people who support you every day for the rest of your life. These situations are where humanity finds it’s finest moments.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Johansen (2942)
  2. J. Harding (2330)
  3. S. Crosby (2082)
  4. J. Drouin (1647)
  5. B. Ryan (1582)
  1. C. Giroux (1244)
  2. D. Kuemper (1226)
  3. E. Malkin (1130)
  4. N. Horton (1121)
  5. D. Alfredsson (1098)