Eleven months ago, the hockey world worried about the health of one of its all-time favorites, “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. The Detroit Red Wings legend and Hockey Hall of Famer had suffered what was termed as a significant stroke late last October.
In the weeks and months following the stroke, Howe's family did their best to keep the public up to date on the legendary player's recovery.
Fast forward to Wednesday night in Detroit as the Red Wings took on the Chicago Blackhawks in a preseason game at Joe Louis Arena. The crowd was sparse, as you'd expect in preseason, but the building probably felt a little fuller than normal with Mr. Hockey back in it.
Howe, along with sons Mark and Murray, was at the game, chatting it up with the Red Wings and Blackhawks coaches, players and even the media.
Who would have seen this coming a year ago? Not only that, but Howe is looking great, too. His family attributes his recovery to a stem cell treatment that helped Howe speak and walk again after fears he may never be able to do either following the stroke.
Howe made his first public appearance after the stroke in his native Saskatchewan back in February, but for the most part he has remained out of the public eye since. Now he's back in the city where he became one of the most famous athletes the sport has ever seen.
If there's one thing you can always say about Howe, it's that he is one tough customer. This only furthers that belief. It's great to see him back at a rink again. It's where Mr. Hockey belongs.