Sydney Harris Howe, no relation to Gordie, joined the Wings in 1935, bought along with another player named Scotty Bowman (no relation to the game’s winningest coach) for $50,000 in a deal that completely surprised Howe.
Howe was one of the league’s leading scorers for a decade. On Feb. 3, 1944, he scored a record 6 goals in one game. The next day The Detroit News detailed the goals, and the wildly happy crowd’s antics. The large crowd of 12,293 — which included 900 school patrol boys — became more frenzied as the double hat trick became more inevitable.
The crowd groaned as Howe shot the puck over the net early in the third period but half a minute later Mud Bruneteau and Grosso set him up again. Howe feinted McAuley. As the latter lunged to the right, Howe flicked the puck right over McAuley into the net.” A grinning Howe left the game on the shoulders of his teammates, to the ecstatic cheers of the spectators.
“They were going in the net tonight — another night they don’t,” Howe said modestly. “I don’t remember any goal in particular. The boys were feeding them to me nicely.
“No celebration for me,” he added, “I’m due at work at 7:10 a.m.”
Howe worked as a machinist at Ford by day. He played center and left wing by night.
In 1945 he became the greatest scorer of all time in the NHL with 558 points (232 goals, 282 assists). Never flashy, just doggedly durable, Howe one of the cleverest players ever to put on skates.
A 1945 profile reads, “All in all, quite a hockey player this Mr. Howe. He might better be styled ‘Wing of all Time’ than to be called ‘Wing of the Week’.”
Vivian M. Baulch, “The glorious Wings of old”, Detroit News Blog, February 5, 1999.