“So that twerp Don Cherry gets a biopic and I don’t? I think you need to have a little talk with your favourite organization the CBC, Mr. Prime Minister.”
That’s what Gordie Howe appears to be saying to Stephen Harper in the above photo.
Well, whatever Gordie did, it worked. The CBC announced on Wednesday that it has commissioned Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story, along with two other made-for-TV films, Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story and Still Life.
Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story apparently will focus on Gordie’s later era of professional hockey, when he came back in his mid-40s to play with sons Mark and Marty. I guess that’s the better “story,” per se, but I personally would be more interested in learning about Gordie’s early years. We now seem to remember Gordie Howe merely as an athletic freak of nature who played a long time, rather than the most dominant player in the game, which he was for an entire era.
There apparently was a saying in the NHL back in the early 1960s: “There are four good teams in the league: Montreal, Toronto, Chicago and Gordie Howe.”
Whenever I think of Gordie, I can’t help but recall a book I read years ago exposing hockey’s dark secrets that detailed some of Gordie’s contract negotiations with the Detroit Red Wings. The trusting Gordie would be told, “Don’t tell any of the other players what you’re making, they’ll be jealous.” Meanwhile, the truth was that Gordie was being criminally underpaid for a player of his stature.
So who gets to portray Gordie? Hey, why not Jared Keeso, the actor who played Don Cherry in two CBC biopics? After all, Keeso kind of looks like every hockey player who ever lived (well, except for maybe Doug Gilmour).