Fans write messages to Gordie Howe as the family holds visitation inside Joe Louis Arena, June 14, 2016. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Hockey World Says Goodbye

The hockey world and city of Detroit are paying their final respects to Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.

Thousands of fans made their way through Joe Louis Arena Tuesday, some waiting upwards of two hours and travelling long distances to say goodbye.

“It was just a great honour to be here today to give back to him and his memory what he gave to all of us as sports fans,” says Lenny from Grand Rapids.

Howe passed away June 10, 2016, at the age of 88.

The Howe family opened the visitation to the public from 9am until 9pm. Inside the arena, the lights were dimmed and the number 9 was illuminated on the ice beside where fans were lining up.

Many hockey dignitaries were also there to pay their respects including Steve Yzerman, Chris Draper, and Wayne Gretzky.

“It’s a hard day for his family, it’s a tough time for the hockey world. But on the other side of things, it’s a celebration too. He did a lot of great things for a lot of people. As I was coming in here I was thinking about all the joy that he gave everyone,” said Gretzky.

Howe played 32 professional hockey seasons and helped the Detroit Red Wings win four Stanley Cups.

“It goes without saying that he’s the greatest player that ever lived and in my mind, it will always be that way. But more importantly he is the nicest person, and I mean that sincerely, I’ve met a lot of really nice people. He just was genuinely a nice man that had a big heart,” said Gretzky.

Howe’s funeral service will be held Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. It is also open to the public.