Detroit Red Wings
RedWingsSeasonTickets.com Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Mr. Hockey pulls for Howe Great

Racehorse has a shot at Kentucky Derby field

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 7:32 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Mr. Hockey pulls for Howe Great
Howe Great is the product of a Japanese-bred sire imported to Kentucky by Barry Irwin and matched with a South African-bred broodmare Ginger Sea. (Photo by Bob Coglianese)
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Every blue moon, a professional athlete inspires city, school or community leaders when dedicating a new building or re-naming a stretch of road or highway.

It’s not every day that a racehorse owner is inspired in quite the same way.

While it’s inevitably happened, it hasn’t happened in the case of Mr. Hockey – until now.

Howe Great, a three-year-old colt on the road to the Kentucky Derby, is named after Red Wings legend Gordie Howe.

Barry Irwin, CEO of Kentucky-based Team Valor International owns the horse, and came up with the name for the son of Hat Trick, a stallion that he purchased a few years ago. The stallion’s name also is a nod to the Gordie Howe hat trick – when a player gets a goal, an assist and gets into a fight in the same game.

The attraction to hockey all started after Irwin, a Californian who isn’t much of a hockey aficionado, purchased Hat Trick. Liking the name so much, he scoured Google looking for a hockey-themed moniker for the new colt.

That’s how Irwin learned details of Howe’s amazing career, which cover 32 pro seasons, including 25 with the Wings, where he won four Stanley Cup titles.

Gordie and his son, Marty Howe, met a Team Valor partner during a Las Vegas autograph show, which the hockey legend was appearing last year. It was then that Gordie first learned of the thoroughbred that carries his name.

“He liked the horse and thought he would make it to the Derby,” said Marty, of the chance encounter with the TVI employee.

Irwin and TVI certainly know something about the horseracing business. After all, they own Animal Kingdom, last year’s Kentucky Derby champion. And jockey John Velazquez, who rode Animal Kingdom to the crown at “the two most exciting minutes in sports”.

After winning the Palm Beach Stakes last Sunday, Howe Great moved into the latest Associated Press Run to the Roses Top 10 at No. 10. Deciding the Kentucky Derby field is a complicated system that basically comes down to major races and overall earnings. The last race was a major graded race which earned Howe Great $90,000.

There’s a slew of eligible horses remaining for the Derby field, but a first- or second-place showing in next month’s Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland will more than likely earn him $180,000-$200,000 land him at the Derby on May 5.

As for his thought on having a thoroughbred named in his honor, Gordie said in his typical whimsical way, “I’m OK with them naming him after me if he’s winning. It’s not OK if he’s coming in last place.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80