Former Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard made the decision to officially hang up the pads after 14 seasons in the NHL, all spent with Detroit.
He’s the third winningest goaltender in franchise history, behind only Chris Osgood and Terry Sawchuck. In 14 seasons, he compiled a 246-196-70 career record with a 2.62 goals-against average and 24 shutouts in 543 games.
Howard also represented the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the 2012 and 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championships and the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship.
He recently caught up with USA Hockey and reflected on his career and his time spent in the state of Michigan.
USA Hockey: Congratulations on a great career. When you look back, what are some memories that stick out the most to you?
Jimmy Howard: Starting with the first memory of getting drafted back in 2003, I was very surprised to be picked by Detroit. I only had about a 10-minute meeting with them, so they weren’t really on my radar. When they called my name out in the second round on the first day, it was a shock and a thrill at the same time to be picked by such a storied franchise, being an Original Six team and all of the history that goes with the Red Wings. It was a lot of emotions for myself and my family.
Another memory that sticks out is my first game back in 2005 playing against the LA Kings at the Staples Center and winning 4-2. It was very special to me to be able to put on the Red Wings jersey for the first time and play in a game. But also to play with guys that I idolized growing up. Steve Yzerman was on the team, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Niklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg. The list goes on and on that I sort of had to pinch myself in the first period that I was playing with these guys after watching them for so long.
Jimmy Howard at the 2017 men’s world championship
Howard represented Team USA on multiple occasions.
USAH: What was some of the advice those guys gave you?
JH: A lot of those guys just said enjoy it because it goes by really fast and boy does it. I mean I blinked and I’ve got four kids and I played in the league for 14 years and I think, ‘Where did the time go?’ They said enjoy every single day because it goes by fast. I also just tried to watch their lead because there were so many good influences in that dressing room. Chris Osgood was probably the most influential Red Wing teammate slash really good friend. We’ve remained good friends to this day. Just live in the moment, when the game is over it’s over and there’s nothing we can do about it. He helped me out a lot just by watching him over the course of three to four years.
USAH: How special was it for you to spend your entire career with the Red Wings organization?
JH: It’s such an honor to be able to play for just one organization. The city of Detroit has embraced my family and me, and now we’re Michiganders. There’s a lot of movement now within the league and guys not staying too long in one spot. I was so fortunate to be able to be in one spot for my whole career and not have to constantly figure out moving trucks and stuff with my wife and moving all around North America.
Howard reportedly turned down an opportunity to continue his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers and former Red Wings GM Ken Holland earlier this year.
– – Quotes via Kyle Huson of USA Hockey Link – –