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Gallery: Loyal Fans Gather at the Joe to Honor 'Mr. Hockey'

June 14, 2016, 12:55 PM by  Annabel Ames

Fans leave farewell messages to Gordie Howe outside Joe Louis Arena.

Update: Tuesday, 2:50 p.m. -- Hockey great Wayne Gretzky showed up at the Joe to pay his respects to Gordie Howe, the Detroit Free Press reports.  Gretzky recounted how his father and Howe traveled around the country in 1992 as he approached Howe's NHL career points. They were waiting for that moment.

"I was sitting with him and, in some ways, I was embarrassed to be breaking his record," Gretzky recalled, according to the Freep. "Because he played in a different time, a different era. It was hard to get 40 goals, and 80 points was a lot of points. We played, and the league wasn't probably as strong as when the team was a six-team league. ...

"I remember Gordie kind of chuckled at me. My dad said, 'He's what you should be when somebody's closing in on your record. He's genuinely happy for you, and that's more important than anything.'"

Some other notables who have shown up include former Red Wing Steve Yzerman and former Detroit Tiger Al Kaline.


From Earlier Today

While waiting in line Tuesday morning at Joe Louis Arena to honor legendary Red Wing star Gordie Howe, hundreds of fans, many wearing Red Wings jerseys or dressed in all black, shared memories about Howe's iconic legendary moves.

"The Red Wings mean so much to my family and I've been coming to games for decades, and my uncle, father and grandfather have been coming to hockey games for even longer," said Matt Dulimba, an Oakland County residentt dressed in all black. "Gordie Howe means a lot to the city of Detroit and to my family, so I felt the need to come and pay my respects."

Howe, a 23-time NHL All-Star who played for the Red Wings from 1946-71, died on Friday at 88. He led the team to Stanley Cup victories four times and earned the  nickname "Mr. Hockey." 

The 12-hour public visitation lasts until 9 p.m. Tuesday. His funeral, with limited public seating, begins at 11 a.m. is Wednesday in Detroit's Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 9844 Woodward Ave.,

Tim Dalton, a Grosse Isle resident who was in line, said he has been following Howe's career since he was a child. 

"Gordie was always there—he's a major part of our youth," said Dalton. 

Upon entering the procession in the main part Joe Louis Arena, the chatter of the line quieted as fans walked across a red carpet as they approached the closed casket of Howe, who was surrounded by bouquets of red roses and white lilies.

Fans shook hands and expressed condolences to Howe's family members.

On one side of the casket, tables covered with Red Wings tablecloths display Howe's jerseys, his hockey gloves and various photographs of him over the years. Spotlights from above project Howe's #9 on the ground on both sides of his casket.

Space is set up for fans to write farewell messages to Howe after exiting.  

"The Wings are a way of life here in Detroit—there's thousands of Red Wings fans and it's a great hockey town," says Gary Nestor of Southgate. "It's been a great ride with Gordie." 

A message left by a fan at Gordie Howe's remembrance.
A message left by a fan at Gordie Howe's remembrance.


A message left by a fan at Gordie Howe's remembrance.






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