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Hockey Players Are The Cockiest, Dirtiest, Athletes In The World

Why do we skate back and forth night after night? Skating so hard we throw up. Skating so hard your heart beat rings in your head, while your lungs are grasping for air. Late nights, early mornings, Friday nights, Saturday evenings, broken bones, torn muscles and deep bruises. We skate through it all. Because we live off our adrenaline, because the game frees your spirit, because the party in the locker room is fine, because your invincible once you step on the ice, because a shot can make you smile all night, sniping the twine, the rattling of the boards, the feel of the puck, and skates carving into the ice is a rhythm to live by, because its possible to skate fast enough to leave all your worries behind.

Hockey players are the cockiest, dirtiest, most irresponsible group of athletes in the world. Lace up the skates, put on the gloves, strap on the helmet, and walk on to the ice and nothing else matters....you're world is absolutely perfect for the next couple hours. Here's to faceoffs, goals, assists, overtime, livin' on the road, cold rinks, early mornings, breakaways, goin' top shelf, countless hours of practice, bag skates, thousands of dollars, dangling d-men, big hits, broken twigs, new skates, packin' bombs, wheelin' broads, coaches, adding the letter "y" to the end of everyone's last name, packin' lips, the word "fuck", pick up, fights, let downs, miracles and most of all - the game.

Truly special athletes, the ones that fathers talk about to their sons and daughters, change the game they play. Arguments emerged late in the 20th century about who most deserved to be called the greatest hockey player of all time. Perhaps it was the retirement of Wayne Gretzky in 1999, surely a contender as hockey player of the century, or perhaps it was a desire to sum up 100 years of a sport that had come into its own and grown exponentially around the world that led to these discussions.

One of the elite goaltenders in the annals of NHL history, Georges Vezina was a key figure in the early history of the Montreal Canadiens franchise. His outstanding play served as a model for stand-up goalies in the future. Long after he retired, fans were introduced to his name and his contributions whenever the Vezina Trophy was awarded at the end of each NHL season to the best goalkeeper in the league.

Vezina stood out in the Canadiens' net even though he played in a league that was very offensive-minded and on a team that initially struggled. In addition, goalies were forbidden to fall to the ice to make a save. So, Vezina managed to perfect an early version of the stand-up style of goaltending. A quiet, clean-living man who operated a tannery business in his home town during the off-season, his calm and cool demeanor resulted in his being labeled the "Chicoutimi Cucumber."

During his rookie year, 1910-11, Vezina led the NHA in his goals-against average, a feat he duplicated in his sophomore campaign. In 1914 he led the Canadiens to a first-place finish in the NHA standings, though they lost the league championship series that year to the Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Blueshirts. Two years later, his superior netminding skills enabled Montreal to win another NHA regular-season crown and the first Stanley Cup triumph in the club's history. The Canadiens emerged victorious from a memorable five-game set against the PCHA champion Portland Rosebuds in a series that represented the first of many appearances in the Stanley Cup finals for the Canadiens and the inaugural one by an American team.

Despite Vezina's heroics, Montreal lost the sacred silverware to the powerful Seattle Metropolitans the following year and the Washington State team became the first Stanley Cup winner from south of the border. Two years later, in the fateful rematch that was eventually canceled by the influenza epidemic, the normally quiescent Vezina was described as being high-strung. It was a portent of the goaltending showdown that was about to take place between the Habs star and the legendary Harry "Hap" Holmes of Seattle. The Canadiens entered the inaugural NHL schedule in 1917-18 with Vezina as one of their pillars. He topped all NHL goalkeepers in his goals-against average that year and again in 1924 and 1925.

Vezina's heroics were a vital component of the Canadiens' second Stanley Cup championship in 1924. He stymied the Ottawa Senators in the NHL playoffs before helping Montreal overcome the challenges of Vancouver and Calgary of the PCHA and the Western Canada Hockey League respectively. In the regular season, he led all NHL netminders in his goals-against average, ending a five-year dominance by the great Clint Benedict.

While sweating through training camp workouts prior to the 1925-26 season, Vezina was obviously not in good health. Despite a high fever, he was performing admirably in the Canadiens' season opener versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, but when he was forced to retire from the game, Vezina was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis. Sadly, his condition only worsened until he passed away on March 26, 1926 but his family history was full of tragedy, as only two of his 24 children lived to adulthood.

Vezina's impact on the game was felt for many years. His combined NHA and NHL regular-season totals added up to 328 games played, 15 career shutouts and a goals-against average of 3.49. Prior to the start of the 1926-27 season, Canadiens owners Leo Dandurand, LouisLetourneau and Joseph Cattaranich immortalized Vezina's name by establishing a trophy to be presented annually to the top netminder in the NHL.

An imposing blend of raw talent and intimidation, defenseman Eddie Shore was one of the greatest ever to play his position in any era and his end-to-end rushes became every bit as famous as his crushing bodychecks and nasty disposition. When Shore retired as a player, he became a team owner and manager and continued to be a demanding and successful hockey figure.

Shore grew up on a horse ranch at Cupar, a small community in southern Saskatchewan near the North Dakota border, where his years of breaking in ponies, herding stock and hauling grain prepared him for the physical grind of pro hockey. While studying with his brother at the Manitoba Agricultural College in Winnipeg, Eddie took exception to his sibling's charge that he'd never be a good player. A determined Shore played briefly with the college team, but he gained more valuable experience in 1923-24 with the Melville Millionaires, a well-known amateur team.

Shore's abrasive style soon earned him a job in the pro ranks with the Western Canada Hockey League's Regina Caps in 1924-25 and the Edmonton Eskimos the next season. He skated as a forward with Regina but shifted back to his natural defense position with the Eskimos. By 1926, his dynamic rushes had earned him the nickname "the Edmonton Express."

When the Western League folded at the conclusion of 1925-26, Boston Bruins owner Charles Adams stocked his newly formed NHL team with seven WCHL/WHL players and Shore was one of them. Old Blood and Guts was an instant star in Boston, and his fearless style of play and passion for the game helped ensure the success of big-league hockey in Beantown. During his first NHL season, Shore established a new record with 130 penalty minutes while also scoring 12 goals. His goal total exceeded that of all but three Boston forwards and it became apparent that he was capable of fully controlling a game when he was on the ice.

During the 1928-29 season, Shore led the Bruins to first place in the American Division. They went through the playoffs without losing a game and won the first Stanley Cup in team history. Shore was at his hard-hitting and playmaking best as Boston eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals prior to a two-game sweep of the New York Rangers. Following the 1930-31 season, Shore finished second in the voting for the Hart Trophy and was placed on the NHL First All-Star Team. He won the Hart Trophy in 1933, 1935, 1936 and 1938, becoming the only defenseman ever to be so honoured four times. Over the next several years, Shore was selected to the NHL First All-Star Team six more times and the Second Team once. He originally formed an outstanding defensive tandem with Lionel Hitchman but eventually teamed with the likes of Dit Clapper and Flash Hollett. Shore recorded 105 goals and 284 points in 14 seasons.

In December 1933 Shore was involved in an unfortunate on-ice collision that ended the career of Toronto forward Ace Bailey. As a result of the tragedy, the first large-scale benefit game in NHL history was held at Maple Leaf Gardens, on February 14, 1934. One of the most unforgettable scenes in hockey history occurred prior to the opening faceoff when Shore and Bailey shook hands.

In 1939, 10 years after leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup, Shore contributed to their second. Shore's leadership and endurance were pivotal factors behind Boston's success in a hard-fought, seven-game struggle against the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. Early in the 1939-40 season, Shore sensed that his NHL days were numbered. He seized the opportunity to purchase the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League, where he became player-owner. A few weeks into the season, the Bruins were floundering and Boston manager Art Ross approached Shore about a possible comeback. A short-term arrangement was made whereby Shore would play strictly in home games.

Before the season was out, Ross traded the burly rearguard to the New York Americans for Eddie Wiseman and cash. Shore's strong play contributed to the Americans' reaching the post-season, where they lost a tough quarterfinals to the Detroit Red Wings. At one point in March, Shore appeared in six playoff encounters in as many nights - three with New York and three with Springfield.

A description of Frank Boucher must include both his brilliant playmaking as a center and his reputation as one of the most gentlemanly figures ever associated with the NHL. Teamed with Bill and Bun Cook, he formed the dangerous Bread Line of the New York Rangers and dominated the annual voting for the Lady Byng Trophy between 1928 and 1935. A native of Ottawa, Boucher began playing hockey on the Rideau Canal at the age of eight. He was on his public school team with Aurel Joliat before he joined the intermediate and senior levels of competition. He spent most of the 1919-20 season with the Ottawa New Edinburghs squad before joining the Lethbridge, Alberta, detachment of the Royal North West Mounted Police. In 1920 he was sent to Regina, Saskatchewan, for training and made a name for himself as a standout member of the 1920-21 Redcoats. It was at this point that Boucher attracted the attention of the Ottawa Senators, who eventually purchased his discharge and placed him in the lineup in time for the 1921-22 NHL schedule.

Boucher spent one year in the nation's capital before he was sold to the Vancouver Maroons of the PCHA where, he became one of the stars of the West Coast, scoring 58 goals in 113 games over four seasons. Although he accumulated respectable offensive totals, Boucher's popularity derived from his exceptional passing. Beginning in 1922-23, he was chosen as either a starter or a substitute on the PCHA All-Star Team for three straight years. When the league disbanded in 1926, Boucher was claimed by the Boston Bruins. However, before playing a single game in Boston, he was purchased by the New York Rangers at the insistence of his old western rivals, Bill and Bun Cook, who had experienced Boucher's skills firsthand.

Gentleman Frank was inserted between the Cook brothers during the Rangers' inaugural NHL season in 1926-27. The unit jelled and exhibited an advanced level of play that surpassed all expectations. The Bread Line developed into one of the most formidable combinations in NHL history. They were such a perfect fit that New York coach Lester Patrick allowed them to devise plays at one end of the rink while the remainder of the team practiced down at the other.

During the decade they played together, Boucher and the Cooks accumulated over 1,100 points. They led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in the team's second year of existence in the spring of 1928. Boucher dominated the post-season scoring with seven goals and 10 points, including both of New York's goals in the Cup-clinching 2-1 triumph over the Montreal Maroons in the final game of the best-of-five series. Five seasons later he contributed four points to the Blueshirts' second Cup victory at the expense of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boucher retired partway through the 1937-38 season but he returned for 15 games in 1943-44 when players enlisted in the army and the Rangers' roster was depleted. He scored 14 points in 15 games during this brief comeback appearance to bring his career totals to 160 goals and 423 points in 14 regular seasons.

If not the best goalie of all time, Jacques Plante was certainly the most important - the man who introduced the art of modern goaltending to the NHL and whose influence is seen every night a game is played. "Jake the Snake" was born in Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, and from the time he started playing, his destiny was to play for the Montreal Canadiens. After a usual four-year apprenticeship with the Montreal Royals in Quebec senior hockey and two years with the Buffalo Bisons, Plante quickly emerged as Montreal's goalie of the future. He played a few games for the Habs in 1952-53 and 1953-54, and in his first full season began an incredible run of five consecutive Stanley Cup wins and five consecutive Vezina Trophy wins, records that have yet to be equaled.

Throughout his career he was plagued with recurring asthma and after missing 13 games due to a sinusitis operation, Plante began wearing a mask in practices in 1956. Coach Toe Blake endorsed the move cautiously because it kept his goalie healthy and happy, but he warned Plante that a mask wasn't permitted during games. However, during a Montreal versus New York game the night of November 2, 1959, Plante was hit in the face by a shot. He went off to the dressing room for stitches and when he returned he was wearing a mask. Blake was livid, but he had no other goalie to call upon and Plante refused to return to the goal unless he kept the mask. Blake agreed on condition that Plante discard the mask when the cut had healed. In the ensuing days Plante refused, and as the team continued to win, Blake became less obstinate. The Montreal record stretched into an 18-game unbeaten streak with Plante protected and the mask was in the NHL for good.

Plante was a pioneer of the style of play for goaltenders as well. While there had been other goalies before him who periodically came out of their crease to play the puck, he was the first to skate in behind the net to stop the puck for his defensemen. He also was the first to raise his arm on an icing call to let his defensemen know what was happening on the ice, and he perfected a stand-up style of goaltending that emphasized positional play, cutting down the angles and staying square to the shooter. His book, The Art of Goaltending, was the first of its kind and solidified his place in the game as not just a great stopper but a man who truly understood hockey and wanted to have an influence on how the game would be played in the future.

Plante retired in 1965 after playing two seasons with the Rangers, but he was lured out of retirement by the St. Louis Blues and the prospects of sharing the goaltending with the great Glenn Hall for the expansion team. Together they took the Blues to two Stanley Cup finals, and in 1969 Plante shared the Vezina Trophy with Hall at the ripe old age of 40. He also played with Toronto and Boston and played for one final season with the Edmonton Oilers in the WHA before becoming a scout and goalie coach in St. Louis. In 1962 he was the last goalie to win the Hart Trophy before Dominik Hasek in 1997, and he ranks among the leaders in games played and shutouts.

Hockey fans in Parry Sound, Ontario, in the late 1950s saw a lot of this hockey genius in its infancy. Doug Orr, Bobby's dad, had been a speedy player and gifted scorer in his own right. He wanted his son, still small for his age but also enormously talented, to play forward in order to take advantage of his speed and puckhandling abilities. Bucko McDonald, a former NHLer who played defense in the 1930s and 1940s and coached Bobby when the youngster was 11 and 12, believed his charge had all the makings of an outstanding defenseman. He taught Bobby the ins and outs of the position and encouraged him to use his offensive skills as well.

Professional teams agreed. The Boston Bruins went to unusual lengths to land the small prospect. When Orr was 14, Boston made arrangements for him to play with the Oshawa Generals in the metro Junior A League. He continued to live at home and commute to each game. Though he didn't attend a single practice with the team, Orr was selected to the league's Second All-Star Team. All the speedy youngster required was size to make him a bona fide star. He was 5'6" and 135 pounds at 14. The next year, when he moved to an Oshawa high school and played in the Ontario junior league, he was 5'9" and 25 pounds heavier. By the time his junior career was over - when he was all of 17 and a man playing with boys - he was a sturdy 6' and almost 200 pounds. The phenomenon Boston fans had been reading about since he was a freckle-faced kid with a brushcut was ready to enter the professional game.

In his first National Hockey League game, against the Detroit Red Wings and Gordie Howe, 18-year-old Orr impressed the home crowd and the many reporters with his defensive abilities. He blocked shots, made checks and moved opposing players away from the net. He also recorded his first point - an assist. Orr was better than good in his first season. He won the Calder Trophy as the best rookie and also made the NHL's Second All-Star Team. He was second in the league in scoring by defensemen and was a plus-30. Not only did he score and pass, he fought when needed, defeating his opponent more often than not, and could play a physical game. But some observers felt he was too daring, that he left himself open to hits with his all-out rushes and that his body had yet to develop to sustain him over the regular-season grind. Orr did suffer an injury in his rookie season, hurting his left knee on a daring rush. It was the beginning of a long battle with his knees that eventually ended his career.

Orr won his first Stanley Cup in 1970 and it was with a flourish only he could manage. His Bruins, a team that hadn't won the Cup in 29 years, were attempting to sweep the St. Louis Blues in the finals. Game four went into overtime. Orr had taken Derek Sanderson's pass from the corner and flashed in front of the net to bury it behind Blues goalie Glenn Hall. As Orr streaked past the net, he was upended by defenseman Noel Picard. Orr jumped, or flew, as he saw the puck beat Hall and the arena erupted. The resulting picture, with Orr's arms raised and his body floating three feet above the ice, was in newspapers and magazines around the world. Orr was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player, an award he would win when Boston again won the title in 1972, again with the Cup-winning goal coming off Orr's stick.

Orr revolutionized the sport with his scoring ability and playmaking from the blue line. Other defenders, beginning as early as Lester Patrick in the nascent days of the game, had been offensive threats, but Orr dominated. He won two scoring titles, the only defender to accomplish that feat, and had career season highs of 46 goals and 102 assists. More than just statistics, Orr had the ability to control the game, to take over. He had the speed to float away from defenders and also to recover should he lose possession or get caught on a rush. Often, odd-man rushes in the other team's favour were reversed by his effortless strides. Some argued that he wasn't defensively sound, but hockey people rejected these claims.

For eight consecutive seasons Orr won the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman and three times he was the league's most valuable player to collect the Hart Trophy. Orr's plus-minus rating when he was at his best was untouchable at plus-124 in 1970-71, when he scored 139 points. At the beginning of the 1971-72 season, Orr signed a contract that guaranteed him $200,000 per season over five years. It was the first $1 million deal in hockey and Orr's agent, Alan Eagleson, predicted at the time that Orr would someday own part of the team if he continued to star for Boston. As it turned out, when it came time to negotiate a new contract prior to the 1976-77 season, the Bruins did offer Orr a piece of the ownership but the star player said his agent never informed him of the proposed deal. Orr, who had struggled with his left knee and played only 10 games in 1975-76, felt as though Boston no longer wanted him and signed instead with the Chicago Black Hawks. Once considered the saviour and then the hero of the rejuvenated Bruins, Orr left the team that had been a part of his career since he was a teen in Parry Sound.

Orr took advantage of a chance to play in a major international competition - the 1976 Canada Cup - when Chicago management gave him permission to play. Having missed all of the Summit Series, the Canada Cup proved to be Orr's only major appearance in a competition against the best the world had to offer. He was outstanding in the Canadian team's run to the championship. He was co-leader of the team in scoring, finishing the seven games tied with another great defender, the New York Islanders' Denis Potvin, with nine points. Orr was selected to the tournament All-Star team and capped the experience with the most valuable player award.

Orr's performance at the Canada Cup had the Chicago faithful energized for his first appearance in colours other than Bruins black and gold. But Orr's left knee would once again impede his career. He played 20 games of his first season in Chicago weakened by his sixth operation on the knee in April 1976. He spent the entire 1977-78 season recuperating, trying to revive his battered knee, which doctors described as nothing but bone rubbing bone after so many operations and injuries.

He made a valiant attempt to return, playing six games at the start of the 1978-79 season. Though Orr didn't feel incredible amounts of pain, he was limited in his movements and unable to practise much with the team. In one game against the Detroit Red Wings, he was on the ice for four Detroit goals and described his play as "terrible." At the age of 30, he decided he was only hindering his Chicago squad. Howard Cosell, the legendary sportscaster, announced in October 1978 that Orr had retired, though it later turned out he had mistaken Orr for Bobby Hull, who was also contemplating leaving the game. A few days later, Orr called Cosell and told him he was indeed retiring and asked him to attend the press conference. Cosell refused, jokingly saying that he didn't "cover old news."

Few of the game's superstars could match the physical talents of Bobby Hull. The Golden Jet combined speed, a feared slapshot and a powerful physique to rise to the elite of the NHL in the 1960s. Depending on the source, his shot was timed at approximately 120 miles per hour. His powerful legs never stopped moving and his muscular upper body enabled him to handle the rough side of the game. Hull was a legend in Chicago and later enjoyed success in the World Hockey Association and on the international stage while representing Canada.

Hull grew up on a farm near Belleville, Ontario, two hours east of Toronto. From a young age it was apparent that his raw talent was exceptional. He moved rapidly through the minor hockey system and was signed by the Chicago Black Hawks organization. As a 15-year-old, he played a handful of games with the Galt Black Hawks of the OHA and didn't look out of place.

The Hawks next moved Hull up to the main junior affiliate, the OHA's St. Catharines Teepees. During his second year, in 1956-57, Hull scored 16 points in 13 playoff matches for the Garden City team. A few months later, he put two pucks past New York Rangers goalie Gump Worsley in a pre-season game to launch one of the greatest of NHL careers. Hull's highly anticipated regular-season debut came in 1957-58. He didn't disappoint the Hawks' fans and brass and turned in a fine 47-point effort that year to finish runner-up to Toronto's Frank Mahovlich in the Calder Trophy voting at the end of the season. Hull improved by three points in his sophomore year before breaking out in 1959-60 with a league-high 39 goals and 81 points. Teamed with Bill Hay and Murray Balfour on the Million Dollar Line, Hull won the Art Ross Trophy and earned a place on the NHL First All-Star Team.

More important, the young star helped resurrect the fortunes of a struggling franchise. Prior to his arrival, Chicago had missed the playoffs 11 out of the previous 12 seasons. The atmosphere around the organization was dismal and the once proud fans stayed away in droves. Hull's arrival along with Stan Mikita helped rekindle the spark within the franchise and raised the team's profile among the sports fans of the Windy City.

Together with teammate Mikita, Hull developed the curved hockey stick, which gave the shooter more velocity and caused the puck to move differently at times. And what goalies throughout the league didn't need was the most feared shot in the NHL behaving like a curve ball. The 1960-61 regular season was somewhat of a letdown for Hull individually, but in the post-season he scored 14 points in 12 games as Chicago won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1938. The next year he became the third player in league history to score 50 goals in a season.

In 1964-65, despite missing nine games due to injury, the Golden Jet scored 39 goals and helped Chicago reach the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost out to Montreal. At season's end he was awarded the Hart and Lady Byng trophies. The following season he set an NHL record with 54 goals and repeated as the Hart Trophy winner. In 1966-67, Hull's 52 goals helped Chicago win its first regular-season championship since coach Pete Muldoon cursed the team after he was fired in 1938. Their march to the Stanley Cup was cut short in the semifinals by the Toronto Maple Leafs under Punch Imlach.

Hull scored 44 goals during the first expansion season, then followed up with a record-breaking performance in 1968-69. His 58 goals set a single-season record that fans thought would last many years. As it turned out, Boston's Phil Esposito hit the back of the net 76 times two years later. In January 1970, Hull was named by the Associated Press as the top NHL player of the 1960s.

While Esposito was leading the Bruins through a magical regular season in 1970-71, the Hawks were led by Hull's 44 goals and captured the West Division crown. On February 14, 1971, he scored twice against the Vancouver Canucks to surpass Maurice Richard for second place on the NHL's all-time goal-scoring list. Hull then embarked on the most productive post-season of his career with 11 goals and 25 points in 18 games as Chicago came within one period of winning the Stanley Cup. Leading 2-1 late in the second period of game seven, the Hawks couldn't hold the lead and lost 3-2 in front of a disappointed home crowd. One of the indelible images of this final game was the Habs' lanky netminder, Ken Dryden, using his long reach to foil a sure goal by Hull.

In 1971-72, Hull hit the 50-goal mark for the fifth time in his career, playing with Pit Martin and Chico Maki. At this stage of his career, many observers noted that he was playing his most well-rounded hockey ever. Ironically, this complete version of Bobby Hull was the last NHL fans would see of him for several years. In February 1972, an ominous event in the form of the World Hockey Association General Player Draft took place. The Winnipeg Jets selected Hull and a few months later shocked the hockey world by signing him to the first $1 million contract in hockey history.

This turn of events was the major coup needed by the WHA to legitimize itself. The NHL was bitter and exacted revenge on the Golden Jet by blocking his participation on behalf of Canada in the 1972 Summit Series versus the Soviets. When Hull left the NHL, his 604 goals ranked him second in league history to Gordie Howe. Overall, Hull's play in the Manitoba capital helped the Jets become a major success in the new league, but the adjustment took its toll as he developed ulcers in response to the stress of playing several games on consecutive nights under conditions that were quite poor compared to the NHL.

Hull soon formed one of the top forward lines anywhere in the world with Swedes Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. The 1974-75 season was particularly special as he finally had a chance to compete against the Soviets in the second Canada-USSR series at the start of the year. He also went on to score 77 goals for Winnipeg in the regular season to establish a new record for a professional league. Hull's play was an integral part of the Jets' Avco Cup wins in 1976, 1978 and 1979. In 1973 and 1975 he was chosen the most valuable player in the WHA.

Prior to the 1976-77 WHA season, Hull was allowed to compete for his country in the inaugural Canada Cup tournament. He was Canada's top-scoring forward and consistently dished out punishing yet clean bodychecks. If this tournament was the highlight of Bobby Orr's career, it was also unquestionably Hull's one chance to shine in a competition featuring the top players from around the globe.

Following the NHL/WHA merger in 1979, Hull remained with the Jets for 18 games in the 1979-80 season before a trade brought him to the Hartford Whalers to play alongside Gordie Howe. He retired after that season with 610 goals in 1,063 regular-season games. Following his career, he worked full-time in the cattle ranching business, a field in which he had a lifetime of experience.

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