Gordie Howe, the gentleman

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A Mr. Hockey story as his 80th birthday approaches:

A few years ago (OK, 15 years ago) I had the pleasure to meet Gordie Howe at a "meet 'n greet." Waiting my turn in line, I was so nervous I had to rehearse my greeting.

"Mr. Howe, you have been a hero of mine since I can remember, it's an honor to finally meet you." My hand disappeared into his giant mitt as he shook it, and he looked me in the eye with that twinkle and smile he still has to this day.

Gordie took a few minutes to chat, and as I turned to walk away, I saw his wife, Colleen, who was more than happy to sign my jersey.

I still get goose bumps, at age 54, remembering the night I shook hands with Gordie Howe.

Best wishes, Mr. Howe on 80, our thoughts are with you and your family.

Robert Boadt, Kalamazoo, Mich.