Monday, October 29, 2012
On this date way back in 1947 Gordie Howe, then of the Detroit Red Wings wore #9 for the first time. As a rookie in 1946-47, Howe had worn #17, but before the start of the 1947-48 season the previous wearer of #9 for the Red Wings, Roy Conacher was sold to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Red Wings trainer Lefty Wilson encouraged Howe to switch to #9, pointing out that a lower sweater number meant a lower and more comfortable bed on the trains then used for travel by all the NHL teams, as the sleeping berths were assigned according to the player's numbers.
Also on this date in 1970, 23 years later, Howe became the first player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career assists during the Red Wings 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins when he recorded two assists, plus a goal, at the Olympia in Detroit. Before you ask, he did not have a fight that night to complete a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick".
Howe would finish his career with 975 goals and 1383 assists for 2358 points combined from his time in both the NHL and his six seasons in the WHA.
Today's featured jersey is a 1954-55 Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey. Howe and the Red Wings would win their third Stanley Cup of Howe's career following the 1954-55 season. This sweater can be traced back to that era by the lack of sleeve numbers, which did not appear until later thanks to the advent of television coverage.
Bonus(?) Jersey: Following the iconic Red Wings jersey of all time, we must unfortunately present one of the worst. This is Cameron Frye's Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey as worn in the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".
The first issue we have with this jersey is the main crest on the front which is rotated more than any main crest in over 90 years of Red Wings history. Perhaps the crests used to be occasionally sewn on at less of an angle than we have become accustomed to, as evidenced by today's featured jerseys, but we've never seen one do a wheelie before.
Or is it suffering from a flat tire?
The main problem we have with this jersey is, of course, the name on the back.
Howe, in his entire time in Detroit, never wore a jersey with his name on the back as the Red Wings did not use names on the backs of their white jerseys until 1973 and they did not appear on the red jerseys until 1977, a full seven seasons after Howe had left Detroit. Even then, it's not vertically arched like the names on the backs of Red Wings jerseys have been since 1982 and the movie was released in 1986.
And let's not forget the fact Cameron wore the jersey with khaki Dockers and loafers! Please.
Then there is the fact he spent the entire day in the city of Chicago, home of your Blackhawks, parading around in a hated Red Wings jersey. They were lucky to have escaped Wrigley Field with their lives...