The late Mr. Hockey’s non-hockey playing son is in town to promote his book, Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father.
Gordie Howe’s youngest son Murray had a dream of following his dad and brothers Mark (a Hockey Hall of Fame defenceman) and Marty (who played 646 pro games, 197 in the NHL and 449 in the defunct World Hockey Association).
But hockey wasn’t in the cards for Murray.
Instead of hitting the ice, he hit the books, and became a doctor.
On Dec. 7, Howe was among the special guests at a wine & cheese event inside the Canadian Museum of Flight hangar at Langley Municipal Airport.
The invitation-only get-together, hosted by the Vancouver Giants, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Memorial Cup.
Howe reminisced about his dad in a conversation with Langley Times reporter Troy Landreville during the event.
LT: What brings you out to Langley?
MH: I just came out with a book, Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father, so I’m trying to share that with the world. Of course, it all started in Canada, in Saskatoon, Sask., for my dad, so the book promotion really starts where he started. We just came from Saskatoon, and then… we’re going to do a Vancouver Giants signing, and we have lots of friends out here, so that’s always a draw for us, as well.
LT: What is the book about?
MH: It’s really a book about who dad was as a man and as a father and the things I learned from him that I want to share with the world. He was such an unusual person — unusual from the standpoint of, everything he did, he did so well. He was obviously an amazing athlete, an amazing hockey player but he far exceeded that as a father and as a man. He was the most humble man that I’ve ever met. He didn’t recognize his own greatness or his athleticism. He was also a very patient man. He’s the only man I’ve ever known who never raised his voice his entire life. I try to aspire to that every day, and I always fall short. He taught by example as a father.
LT: Your brothers were accomplished hockey players. Did you play any hockey growing up?
MH: I was an unaccomplished hockey player. I focused my entire existence into becoming a professional hockey player. For my first 18 years, I wanted to be like my brothers and my dad, but I just lacked size and talent. I played junior hockey in Toronto with (Wayne) Gretzky and Paul Coffey with the Seneca (Toronto) Nationals. I did everything I could to be a pro but I got cut in my first year at the University of Michigan. I hung up my blades officially at that point and pursued a career in medicine.
LT: Obviously that was a good decision. No regrets?
MH: No regrets, and I based it on the fact that No. 1, I did everything I could to be a pro hockey player and No. 2, both my parents always encouraged us that the most important thing was to do what we love and follow our passions. As soon as I hung up the blades, I realized what I really loved doing was sciences and taking care of people. I was fortunate to be able get into medical school. Every day when I wake up to go to work I’m as excited as my dad was to go to his hockey.
LT: You treated your dad in his final few years?
MH: It was very satisfying, very rewarding to be able to give back because he and my mom were so good to us. For any kid to be able to help their parents in their later years is such a gift. And dad was amazing. Right to the last days of his life, he never lost his personality, never lost his ‘joie de vivre,’ so we loved to take him out, take him to the local ice arena. He would muck around with the kids, pose for pictures, get them in a headlock, and lift them up by their legs… it was so much fun bringing him around to places and seeing him react to the fans. It was such a beautiful experience.