Yesterday, one of the greatest Flyers of our generation received acknowledgement as one of the greatest hockey players of any lifetime. Mark Howe, defenseman for the Flyers for 10 seasons spanning from 1982 to 1992 received a call informing him that he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. It's about time.
You may remember that we're pretty big Mark Howe fans, giving him the top Flyers seed in our Greatest Philly Athletes of the Last 30 Years tournament in March. While it wasn't easy to pick the Flyers' sole 1-seed representative among some of the very good players of our youth through the present day, it was hard to argue against Howe, a Flyers legend when we first began tuning in to watch hockey.
Here's a look back at what Rev said about Howe at the time.
Smooth. Unflappable. Steady. Smart. When I think of Mark Howe these are adjectives that come to mind. Best defenseman in Flyers history also comes to mind. Unlike other defensemen who excelled offensively, Howe was incredibly responsible in his own end. He emerged from the shadow of his father Gordie to carve out a remarkable career. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1982 thanks to a trade which sent Ken Linseman, Greg Adams, and a first and third round pick in the ’83 draft to Hartford. He paid immediate dividends, putting up 67 points (20 goals, 47 assists) his first season in the orange and black. He was a three-time All Star and three-time Norris Trophy (best defenseman) finalist. His 1985-86 season was one of the greatest single seasons ever put together by a defenseman, as he played in 77 games, scoring 24 goals and notching 58 assists for 82 total points. He was the NHL plus/minus leader that year, posting a ridiculous +85. His Herculean efforts were recognized as he was a Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) finalist. He helped lead the Flyers to two Stanley Cup Finals (1985 and 1987), and won the Barry Ashbee award as the Flyers best defenseman three times. He ended his Flyers career as the all-time leader in points by a defenseman with 480 (138g, 342a) in 594 games. He was, without question, the greatest blueliner in Flyers history.
So congrats to #2, Mark Howe, on a well-deserved accolade. You helped bring hockey into a home that previously only watched the Phillies and Eagles, you're one of the reasons I first loved hockey, and you're a Hall of Famer.
Panotch has some great quotes on what Howe meant to the Flyers, high praise from Paul Holmgren, Ed Snider, and others, as well as a funny bit on how Howe screened the call from the Hall. [CSNPhilly]