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Monday, June 13, 2016

Mark Howe

Mark Steven Howe (born May 28, 1955) is an American-Canadian former
professional ice hockey left winger and later defenseman who played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and 6 seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA). He is the son of Gordie and Colleen Howe, younger brother of Marty Howe, and nephew of Vic Howe. Despite the enormous shadow cast by his father and splitting time between two leagues, Howe shone as one of the best two-way NHL defensemen of the 1980s, being a three-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy and making the Stanley Cup finals three times as a player. He is a member of both the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame in to which he was inducted in 2011. He is currently the Director of Pro Scouting for the Detroit Red Wings.

Howe played junior hockey for the Detroit Jr. Red Wings. As a 15-year-old, he led his Red Wings to the US Junior Championship in 1971. In 1972, the United States earned a Silver Medal at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan with 16-year-old Howe as one of the stars, the youngest hockey player to win an Olympic medal. Howe eventually ended his junior hockey career playing for the Toronto Marlboros of the OHL, winning a Memorial Cup MVP in the process.

The 1986–87 season brought great success to both Howe and his Philadelphia Flyers teammates. The Flyers, for the 3rd consecutive season, led the Prince of Wales Conference in points. Led by Howe and defense partner Brad McCrimmon, rookie netminder Ron Hextall, and a line featuring Brian Propp, Rick Tocchet and Pelle Eklund, the injury-riddled Flyers took the vaunted Edmonton Oilers to 7 games in the NHL Finals before succumbing 3–1 in the finale.

Howe, having struggled with both knee and back injuries, became a part-time player virtually the rest of his career. The decline in his games played coincided with the Flyers decline in play overall. It was no mystery to anyone watching the Flyers on a regular basis from the years 1988–91 why the team struggled. When Howe was in the lineup, the Flyers looked like a playoff team. Without him, they looked disorganized in their own end.

After the 1991–92 season, the Flyers granted Howe free agency so he could win the, so far elusive, Stanley Cup. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings, the team with which his dad had starred. The signing was a popular one in Detroit, as Mark was "returning home" to help build the Wings into a consistent playoff contender. He became a steadying influence on Detroit's young corps of defensemen, most notably Nicklas Lidström. He would have one more appearance in the Stanley Cup finals, but his Red Wings were swept in 1995 by the New Jersey Devils.

Upon his retirement as a player following the 1994–95 season Howe remained in the Detroit organization working in the hockey operations department first as a video coach and then as a pro scout, earning Stanley Cup rings when the Wings captured championships in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008. Upon his retirement, Howe was the last active Houston Aeros or New England Whalers player in the NHL, as well as the last active member of Canada's 1974 Summit Series team. He currently serves the club as its Director of Pro Scouting being based just outside Philadelphia in Jackson, NJ, from which he primarily covers NHL and AHL teams located in the eastern United States. His older son, Travis, also works in the hockey development and coaching field as co-founder and head coach of the Selects Hockey player development program based in Bloomfield, Michigan.

Howe was elected to Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame in 2001 and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. In June 2011, it was announced that Howe had been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame to which he was inducted on November 14, 2011 in the players category.;he and his father Gordie were the second father-son combination in hockey history to be named to the Hall of Fame, behind Brett and Bobby Hull.

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