When Gordie Howe was in the prime of his career he was a lot of fun to watch and until Wayne Gretzky came along Howe was the best player that hockey had ever seen. He spent many years playing in the WHA and that led to
his NHL statistics not being what they could have been. But they were still the best in the league’s history until #99 came along.
But Howe wouldn’t let his career come to an official end. In 1997 he signed a one game contract with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL and he played one shift during the game. He was 70 years old at the time and it made him the first hockey player to play professionally in six different decades.
While that is certainly a milestone that won’t ever be reached again, it wasn’t something that needed to be done. The shift that he played was uneventful and pretty much a waste of time. I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t want to, but a player of his stature should never have been used as a gimmick to sell tickets. That’s just embarrassing to him and to his legacy.