Gordie Howe makes hockey history OTD in 1980

One of the greatest and most beloved athletes of all time, the legendary Gordie Howe was affectionately known as “Mr. Hockey”. With 26 seasons played in the NHL, he still holds the record for most games played.

And on this date in 1980, he etched himself yet again into the history books.

When he took his first shift as a member of the Hartford Whalers against the Edmonton Oilers on January 2, 1980, Howe became the first NHL player to appear in action over the course of five decades. He was later presented with a commemorative plaque honoring his achievement.

“One of my goals was longevity; I guess I’ve pretty much got the lock on that,” he said afterwards.

During his career, which was mostly spent with the Detroit Red Wings, Howe earned 23 All-Star appearances and set several scoring records that went untouched until Wayne Gretzky‘s career.

“Gordie Howe is the greatest player who ever lived,” Gretzky said in 2015. “There’s not even a question about it.

– – Quotes via John Kreiser of NHL.com Link – –