Friday, April 03, 2009

Looking for a little space in the hall

The NHL Hall of Fame has changed their eligibility rules, signalling that they are preparing to admit their first female member. Starting in 2010, the Hall will begin to consider male and female candidates separately. A move enshrined in a new bylaw which will allow a maximum of four men and two women to be inducted each year.

That change could pave the way for one of the most well known names in hockey to gain a second place in the hallowed hall of hockey, as many observers suggest that Colleen Howe, who recently passed away, may be one of the first females to be admitted to the Hall.

The prospect of his long time partner becoming part of the Hall has certainly caught the attention and emotions of Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe teared up at a recent public event when the idea of his wife joining him in the Hall was brought up.

It was a suggestion which has more than enough merit to stand on its own, let alone with the weight of the Howe name behind it. Colleen Howe was well ahead of her time when it came to her involvement in hockey.

From Gordie's legendary career, to Colleen Howe's efforts in organizing junior hockey in Detroit, the Howe's have been synonymous with the game in the United States for a number of decades.
It was Colleen Howe, who was the first female player agent in the NHL and who negotiated many of husband Gordie's contracts over the years, gaining back a fair amount of what was lost in the early days of his career, when negotiations between the Red Wings and him were rather one sided.

It was also through her efforts that he was able to line up on professional ice with his two sons in the WHA and it was her business acumen that created a very profitable and enjoyable life after hockey for her husband, who still holds to a hectic schedule of public events throughout the year.

Already a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, it would seem only fitting that she would enter the NHL hall of fame as the first female member.

Gordie Howe is sold on the idea, in fact he says that if he had his way he would give up his spot in the hall in deference to his wife and her contribution to hockey.

The need for that should never come, on the merits she deserves inclusion and if the NHL Hall of Fame committee is paying attention to the good of the game, it shouldn't be too much longer before she is enshrined in the Hall. The only regret being that she won't be there to bask in the spotlight with her proud husband.

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