Gordie Howe, of course, needs no introduction as one of the greatest players in the history of the NHL. Over 26 seasons, from 1946-47 to 1970-71 with the Detroit Red Wings and 1979-80 with the Hartford Whalers, he scored 801 regular-season goals. He is currently second in number of goals scored, behind only Wayne Gretzky.
But where did he score all those goals? Here is a breakdown of the goals he scored at each arena. He scored in 21 different arenas, playing for Detroit and Hartford, and against 14 opponents.
The list does not include goals scored while playing for the Houston Aeros or New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association.
|Olympia Stadium||Detroit Red Wings||430||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Chicago Stadium||Chicago Blackhawks||76||73 with Detroit Red Wings, 3 with Hartford Whalers.|
|Boston Garden||Boston Bruins||64||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Maple Leaf Gardens||Toronto Maple Leafs||62||61 with Detroit Red Wings, 1 with Hartford Whalers.|
|Madison Square Garden (III)||New York Rangers||60||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Montreal Forum||Montreal Canadiens||58||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Civic Arena||Pittsburgh Penguins||6||5 with Detroit Red Wings, 1 with Hartford Whalers.|
|Great Western Forum||Los Angeles Kings||6||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|St. Louis Arena||Chicago Blackhawks/St. Louis Blues||6||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Madison Square Garden (IV)||New York Rangers||5||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Met Center||Minnesota North Stars||5||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Philadelphia Spectrum||Philadelphia Flyers||5||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Hartford Civic Center||Hartford Whalers||4||All with Hartford Whalers|
|Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals||4||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Springfield Civic Center||Hartford Whalers||4||All with Hartford Whalers|
|Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum||Chicago Blackhawks||1||With Detroit Red Wings.|
|Buffalo Memorial Auditorium||Buffalo Sabres||1||With Detroit Red Wings.|
|Capital Centre||Washington Capitals||1||With Hartford Whalers.|
|Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum||Chicago Blackhawks||1||With Detroit Red Wings.|
|Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena||Los Angeles Kings||1||With Detroit Red Wings.|
|McNichols Sports Arena||Colorado Rockies||1||With Hartford Whalers.|
Howe was by far the highest scoring player at Olympia Stadium. The next highest scorer, Alex Delvecchio scored an impressive but far fewer 243 goals.
Howe scored at Olympia in his first game as a Red Wing, against Toronto, October 16, 1946. All of his goals there were scored while playing with the Red Wings. By the time the Whalers made their first trip to Detroit, the Red Wings had moved into Joe Louis Arena, and he never scored there. Fittingly, goal number 801 came against Detroit, in his final NHL game, in Hartford on April 6, 1980.
Howe’s first away goal was January 1, 1947, at Maple Leaf Gardens. His last away goal was at Capital Centre in Washington, December 4, 1979.
Naturally, most of his away goals were against the other Original Six teams, the only other teams in the league for the first 21 seasons of his career. He was most successful at Chicago Stadium, where he scored 73 goals with Detroit, and another 3 with Hartford. He also scored 4 goals against Chicago at Blackhawks home games elsewhere in the Midwest in the early 1950s. He scored 2 at St. Louis Arena, January 9, 1955 and January 14, 1956 (and would later score 4 more there against the St. Louis Blues), 1 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, December 18, 1953, and 1 at Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum in Omaha, Nebraska, February 25, 1954.
He scored 6 times at the Great Western Forum, the Los Angeles Kings’ regular home arena. The Kings also played home games at Long Beach Arena and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena before the Forum was completed in December, 1967. Howe scored at the Memorial Sports Arena on November 17, 1967.
During Hartford’s first NHL season in 1979-80, the Whalers played some of their home games at the Springfield Civic Center. The roof of the Hartford Civic Center had collapsed during the 1977-78 WHA season, and the arena was under repair until January, 1980. Of his 15 goals with Hartford, Howe scored four goals at each arena.
Howe compiled his 801 goals through consistency and longevity. He never scored 50 goals in a season (although he came close with 49 in 1952-53), and he led the league in goals only five times: 1950-51, 1951-52, 1952-53, 1956-57, and 1962-63. However, he did led the Red Wings in goals 15 times: 11 seasons in a row from 1949-50 to 1959-60, another 3 seasons from 1961-62 to 1963-64, and 1967-68.
Here is the breakdown for Howe’s playoff goals:
|Olympia Stadium||39||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Chicago Stadium||10||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Montreal Forum||9||8 with Detroit Red Wings, 1 with Hartford Whalers.|
|Maple Leaf Gardens||8||All with Detroit Red Wings.|
|Boston Garden||1||With Detroit Red Wings.|
|Madison Square Garden (III)||1||With Detroit Red Wings.|
His official NHL statistics record 68 playoff goals, but I am not absolutely sure about one of them. The last Detroit goal of the 1951 playoffs, April 7 in Montreal, was initially credited to Ted Lindsay, but the NHL currently does not credit him with any goals that year. According to the Canadian Press story in the newspapers, the puck went through a crowd and may have bounced off of Lindsay, but “many spectators thought Howe had let fly with the shot”. Perhaps the goal was reviewed later and credited to Howe.
My main sources were the game summaries at the Hockey Summary Project. For the 1946-47 to 1951-52 seasons, which are not covered by the HSP, I used the Google News archives of the Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Windsor Daily Star, and Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
The Sports Illustrated article “One Skate in Valhalla” (Pete Axthelm, February 12, 1968) broke down the first 400 goals of Howe, Bobby Hull, and Maurice Richard into home and away goals. According to the article, Howe scored 222 of his first 400 goals at home. Based on that, his 222nd home goal would have been December 4, 1958, although by my count that was his 211th goal. Counting forwards from there brought me to a total of 440 goals, which means either that I made a mistake in counting, or that the SI article or the HSP were wrong. In any case, when I counted over again from the beginning, I came up with the above breakdown, which correctly adds up to 801.
The Toronto Sun published statistics for Maple Leaf Gardens on February 12, 1999, the day before the final game at the Gardens. The list is now archived at Canoe.ca. According to this list, Howe scored 93 goals in Toronto, but I cannot explain how they arrived at that number. I count only 62 goals in Toronto, which agrees with the overall total of 801. Even including playoff and WHA goals, he scored far less than 93.
Comments and corrections are welcome, especially if anyone can explain the discrepancies I have noted above!