Good ol’ hockey rivalries. There’s the one with the Habs, the Battle of Ontario with the Senators, and this past weekend we saw a back-to-back Battle of the QEW. These rivalry games are never short of excitement as last weekend proved and are historically some of the best games of the season.
One of my personal favourites though has to be between the Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. Growing up in Windsor this rivalry was discussed and argued about the most amongst my friends. While I’ve still never seen a regular season game between the two rivals in person, the first game I ever worked at the Air Canada Centre was a pre-season match-up between the two teams about four years ago.
With the Winter Classic on the horizon and recent realignment of the league this reinstated rivalry kicks off in the pre-season with a home-and-home this weekend.
Now let’s throwback to sometime in the 1950s and a heated moment between two rivals.
While different teams made them enemies Gordie Howe and Ted “Teeder” Kennedy had so much in common. Both were tough as nails Hall of Famers and Hart Trophy winners. Both wore number 9, one in blue and white with five Stanley Cups to his name, and a C on his sweater. The other in red and white as a four-time Stanley Cup champion, and only player to play in the NHL in five different decades. These two names are most famously linked to the mishap on the ice during the 1950s playoffs that saw Howe seriously injured.
In 2011 at the Hall of Fame Induction Game honouring Gordie’s son Mark Howe I had the opportunity to interview the hockey legend. Exceptionally funny guy (as you can see) with so much hockey history attributed to his name, it’s one of my favourite moments so far.