Gordie Howe carried out a Maurice Richard jersey on to the ice at the big birthday bash, and it’s another nice example that any problems the two superstars might have had were put to bed a long time ago. Howe also attended the Rocket’s funeral in May of 2000, and it was a thoughtful and caring gesture on Howe’s part.
Both number nines respected each other on the ice, they were the greatest players of their time, but Howe wasn’t overly-impressed that Richard was such a god in Quebec, and the Rocket always fumed when Howe tallied more goals than him. But things truly hit the wall in 1998 when Howe was negotiating to play one game with the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League, which he wanted to do so he could say he played pro in six different decades. He did this at age 70, playing one shift, and this didn’t sit well with the Rocket.
The Rocket came out publicly, saying the whole idea was a farce and a joke, and Howe should just leave things alone. Howe replied with words something like, I didn’t like him much when we played and I like him even less now.
But when Howe went to the funeral only a couple of years after that, we knew the hatchet was buried. And there he was again at the ceremony, holding Rocket’s jersey, and it was a beautiful sight.