A legendary hockey star, now 86, reviews his storied and stellar career.
In the acknowledgements, Howe thanks Paul Haavardsrud, a Canadian journalist, “who helped to take the thoughts in my head and put them down on paper,” but only Howe’s name appears on the cover and title page. No assist for Haavardsrud? Regardless, this memoir is fairly conventional, beginning (after an introduction) with his birth in 1928 and proceeding chronologically. (The author appends some celebratory words from his children.) Occasionally, he pauses to comment about various hockey-related issues—hockey violence, the late-career discovery that the Detroit Red Wings (long his hockey home) had lied to him about his salary (they had assured him he was the highest paid player, but he was not), injuries (he had over 300 facial stitches), the sad economic situation in today’s Detroit, and the vast differences in salaries between his day and ours. But the most interesting sections deal with his discovery of the game, his long devotion to it and his many achievements, listed at the end. Howe has kind words for his successors as the premier hockey stars: Bobby Orr (who wrote the somewhat fawning foreword) and Wayne Gretzky, whom Howe met when the Great One was only 11. Howe also writes with great fondness about his family—his parents, his wife, Colleen (who died in 2009), and his children (his two sons were hockey stars in their own rights). He greatly enjoyed his time playing on the same team with his sons and even won the World Hockey Association MVP award in their first year together in Houston. The author intersperses portions of personal letters he sent to and received from family members.
Lots of action, a bit of rumination and few regrets in this unremarkable work by a most remarkable athlete.