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Gordie Howe visitation to be held in Joe Louis Arena

By
The Sports Xchange
Detroit Red Wings and NHL Hall of Fame player Gordie Howe waves as he walks to center ice for the Steve Yzerman jersey retirement ceremony at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on January 2, 2007. (UPI Photo/Scott R. Galvin)
Detroit Red Wings and NHL Hall of Fame player Gordie Howe waves as he walks to center ice for the Steve Yzerman jersey retirement ceremony at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on January 2, 2007. (UPI Photo/Scott R. Galvin) | License Photo

The Detroit Red Wings will hold a public visitation for hockey legend Gordie Howe on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Howe, affectionately known as "Mr. Hockey" and recognized as the greatest NHL player ever, died Friday. He was 88.

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Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, allowing fans to pay their respects to Howe.

Howe will lie in state inside the arena bowl and his family will be present to greet the public.

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Howe's funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

Howe played 25 seasons with the Red Wings and helped them win four Stanley Cup championships. He holds NHL records for most games (1,767) and seasons (26). His 801 career goals rank second to Wayne Gretzky's 894.

Howe, a native of Floral, Saskatchewan, arrived with the Red Wings in 1946 as an 18-year-old, scoring in his first NHL game. After the Red Wings, Howe went on to play one more season in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers and six in the World Hockey Association.

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With the WHA's Houston Aeros, Howe played alongside two of his sons, Mark and Marty, who were each beginning their professional careers.

Howe, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972, totaled 1,850 points over 26 NHL seasons. He retired from hockey when he was 52.

President Barack Obama issued a statement Friday on the passing of Howe:

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"The list of hockey players who suited up in six different decades, including returning to the ice after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, is a short one: it starts and ends with Gordie Howe.

"But the list of kids who skated around the pond until dark, picturing themselves passing, scoring, and enforcing like Howe, dreaming of hoisting the Stanley Cup like him -- that one comprises too many to count. Howe's productivity, perseverance, and humility personified his adopted hometown of Detroit, to which he brought four championships and which he represented as an All-Star more than 20 times. The greatest players define their game for a generation; over more than half a century on the ice, Mr. Hockey defined it for a lifetime. Michelle and I send our condolences to his sons and daughter, his family, and his loyal fans from Hockeytown to Hartford to Houston and across North America."

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Gretzky would later break Howe's records for goals, points and scoring titles while wearing No. 99 in a tribute to Howe, who wore No. 9 during a lower-scoring era of the game. Gretzky finished his career in 1999.

Gretzky called Howe his childhood idol who became his longtime close friend.

"He was everything to me," Gretzky told NHL.com in a phone interview. "I was lucky enough in life to have the greatest father ever, and if I could say I had a stepdad it was probably Gordie. I idolized him as a kid and was fortunate enough to become friends with him. There's not too many times you can grow up idolizing somebody that you can say at the end of the day we became really good friends. He was just everything."

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