The below is a press release from ITG. A nice warm welcome back to Gordie Howe to ITG. A great addition to bolster value in their product.
The game of hockey has seen some incredible legends take to the ice over the years, but there is an elite class of players that go even beyond that in the hearts of fans. One of those players is often simply referred to as Mr. Hockey – Gordie Howe.
In The Game is pleased to announce the long-awaited return of Howe to their products in 2012 and the company is excited to be able to feature him in their celebrated releases.
“It has been several years since Mr. Howe was prominently featured as part of In The Game’s products and we are incredibly pleased to be working with him once again,” said company President Dr. Brian Price. “Our working relationship goes back even farther than that and collectors will be pleased to have an opportunity to get more cards of one of hockey’s greatest icons.”
Howe was part of the first modern era hockey card set from Parkhurst back in 1951-52 and his cards have been highly sought-after ever since. During the 1991-92 season, Dr. Price began working as a sub-licensor under Pro Set and brought back the legendary Parkhurst trading card brand to modern collectors. This extremely popular series not only featured the top stars of the day but also had a special insert set which prominently featured Mr. Howe. At the time, inserts were a relatively new concept with collectors and it was fitting that one of the game’s greatest players be a part of it.
Over the following years, Dr. Price featured Howe in a number of products including collector favorites like the Parkhurst Missing Link. These sets were made up entirely of retired players and paved the way for modern releases, which celebrate the past. Howe was last a part of the In The Game family in 2001-02 and his return to In The Game will allow collectors to obtain all-new cards that celebrate his monumental contributions to the sport.
Howe was born in Floral, Saskatchewan on March 31, 1928 and joined the Detroit Red Wings as an 18-year-old for the 1946-47 season. He quickly became one of the NHL’s top stars and led his club to four Stanley Cup championships in the 1950s. Over 25 seasons in the Motor City, Gordie became the league’s all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points before retiring for the first time at the end of the 1970-71 campaign. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame soon after.
After two seasons on the sidelines, Howe returned to action with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association and played alongside two of his sons, Mark and Marty. Over the course of six WHA campaigns, the trio ranked among hockey’s biggest stars and he continued to put up strong numbers. They signed with the New England Whalers in 1977 and went back to the NHL two years later as members of the expansion Hartford Whalers. The 1979-80 season was his last but he would skate in his final NHL All-Star Game and made a memorable return to Detroit to score his 801st and final regular season goal on April 6, 1980.
Despite retiring soon after, Howe was still active in the hockey world and once the sports memorabilia industry took off, he became a popular show guest. In 1997-98, he became the first player to skate in a professional game in six different decades when he took to the ice with the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League. In 2008, he became the first person to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the NHL. Adored by fans everywhere, his career is spoken of in reverent tones for being a complete player that could score, lead and play without fear.
Collectors can expect to find autograph and game-used memorabilia cards of Howe in many of the products that are part of In The Game’s 2012 lineup starting with Heroes and Prospects, which releases on February 23.