When the federal election finally takes place in October, we’ll be into a new hockey season. It strikes me though, that as long as Stephen Harper is Canada’s Prime Minister, hockey will be part of the political game.
This past Thursday, Harper was the focal point of an elaborate event in Windsor. He went on and on about jobs in the auto industry which is not a ‘good news’ story these days. The clincher though was the announcement that the fancy new bridge linking Windsor and Detroit will be known as the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
The man known to the world as Mr. Hockey is now 87, and Detroit is where most of his great moments on the ice took place. He played 25 seasons with the Red Wings, leading them to four Stanley Cup titles. There’s a small college stadium named after him in his hometown of Saskatoon, and having his name on this bridge is a great idea.
It is the busiest commercial crossing between the two countries, and when it’s finished in 2020, the cost of the project will be more than a billion dollars.
Gordie Howe was one of the first great ambassadors for the game in the U.S. After he was done in Detroit, he made more history playing with his two boys in Houston in the WHA.
Recent years have not been kind to Mr. Hockey. He lost his beloved Colleen to a severe form of dementia, and last year Gordie suffered a major stroke. He couldn’t walk and speech was very difficult.
He has made an amazing comeback thanks to what appears to be a pioneering use of stem cell therapy. Gordie was not standing beside the prime minister when the bridge announcement was made, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it there when they cut the ribbon.
That’s five years away, and Mr. Hockey will be 92. I wonder who the PM will be ?
I’m Roger Currie