Howe would play two more seasons for Detroit, which included becoming the first player to reach 1,000 assists early in the 1970-71 season, his last with the Red Wings prior to retiring after the season due to a chronic wrist injury. He then took a job with the club's front office and was prepared for a life as a retired hockey player.
In the meantime, a new professional league came into being, the World Hockey Association. The league began with the 1972-73 season and included a franchise in Texas, the Houston Aeros. For the 1973-74 season, the Aeros had signed brothers Mark and Marty Howe to a pair of four-year, $400,000 contracts in early June of 1973 and two weeks later, they lured the boys' father and NHL legend, the now 45-year-old Gordie, who had already been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the previous year following his retirement from the Detroit Red Wings after 25 seasons. It's safe to say that Howe's 1687 games of NHL experience was greater than the rest of the Aeros roster combined.
Additionally, Gordie was also named the league's Most Valuable Player in 1974, a trophy that would be renamed in his honor in 1976, while he was still an active player! In the playoffs that season Houston swept the Jets in four, survived an all out war with the Minnesota Fighting Saints in six games to advance to the Avco Cup Finals. Once in the finals, they swept the Chicago Cougars in four straight, giving the Aeros their first WHA title and Howe his first championship since 1955 with Detroit.