Detroit Red Wings
2015-16 Ticket Plans Available 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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

DetroitRedWings.com is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and DetroitRedWings.com are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
© NHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 
Advertise/SponsorshipsOlympia Entertainment | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Employment | Contact Us | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map