Howe, 86, received stem cell treatments in Mexico last month. The former Detroit Red Wings right-winger had multiple strokes last summer and a serious one in October. He was also hospitalized with a case of dehydration in December.
Before the stem cell treatments, Howe was limited to shuffling his feet while sitting down. After the treatments, Howe has gone out in public with family and regained the ability to kick a ball around and push a shopping cart.
According to the News, Howe is staying in Lubbock, Texas, with his daughter Cathy and has gained 20 pounds. He's able to walk up to a half-mile and joke around with family.
"I kicked around a soccer ball with him," son Murray Howe told The Windsor Star. "He's playing driveway hockey with his grandsons. He's faking out his great-grandson and then shooting the puck through the five hole. You really couldn't even tell he had a stroke at this point."
After Howe regained the ability to walk under his own power, his son Marty said Gordie is expected to appear at the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner on Feb. 6. The event will be a tribute to Howe, featuring a keynote address by Wayne Gretzky.
Howe spent 32 years as a professional hockey player, 25 with the Red Wings from 1946-71. He later spent six years with the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association before returning to the NHL for his final season with the Hartford Whalers. He retired in 1980.
- Mike Fiammetta