Fans take to social media to mourn the death of Gordie Howe

Hockey icon Gordie Howe, center, is shown in a 1963 file photo huddled near the boards with teammates during a break in a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens. Howe died early Friday morning. He was 88. Howe is regarded as one of the best hockey players of all time -- known for his toughness, durability and scoring acumen. (AP file)

DETROIT (MEDIA GENERAL) – The sports world, once again, has lost one of its heroes. Hockey icon Gordie Howe died early Friday morning. He was 88.

Known as Mr. Hockey, Howe had one of the most prolific careers in sports history. He played 32 professional seasons and won four Stanley Cups — all with the Detroit Red Wings — along with two WHA championships toward the end of his career with the Houston Aeros.

Howe was a prolific scorer, leading the NHL in goals scored in five seasons, and finishing in the top five 14 times. In his 26 seasons in the NHL, he scored 801 goals, surpassed only by Wayne Gretzky’s 894. Howe, however, also scored 174 goals in his six-year stint in the WHA.

More than a scorer, however, Howe also was known for his toughness on the ice. His name graces a peculiar statistic that hockey fans adore – the “Gordie Howe hat trick” — when one player scores a goal, earns an assist, and gets in a fight all in one game.

Fans took to social media to reflect on Howe’s career and what he meant to hockey and the world of sports.

Some current and former Red Wings also chimed in on the legend’s death.

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