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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Whale of an ending for Gordie Howe
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 6, 1980

Gordie Howe, the most durable professional athlete in sports history, plays his last regular-season game at age 52. Skating for the Hartford Whalers, the living legend closes out his 32nd season by scoring a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, for whom he played his first 25 years with in the NHL.

Howe's 801st NHL goal (15th this season) comes when he picks up a loose puck behind the Detroit goal, circles unchecked and beats goalie Rogie Vachon. He finishes his NHL career with 1,850 points, a record that will last until Wayne Gretzky breaks it in 1989.

After starring for the Red Wings, Howe played six seasons in the WHA, four with Houston and two with New England before coming back for a farewell season in the NHL. Including his 174 goals in the WHA, Howe scored 975 goals.

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