Another Hockey Hall of Fame class, another denial for Rogie Vachon! Now that I’ve got my personal beef aside… Two Ontario Hockey League grads will be entering the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011. Doug Gilmour, Cornwall Royals grad, was one and Mark Howe, Toronto Marlboros grad, was the other.
Howe is a curious case. No major NHL awards. No Stanley Cups. Despite a player’s assets, those are the two items that seem to ultimately define a Hall of Famer. However, Howe did have an exceptional career that was diminished in the end by knee and back injuries.
In his one season in the OHA with the Toronto Marlboros, 1972-73, Mark scored 38 goals and added 66 assists for 104 points in just 60 games. He was selected as the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy winner as the Memorial Cup MVP as the Marlboros won the national major junior title. Toronto lost just seven of its 63 regular season games that season.
Instead of playing another year of junior, Howe joined father Gordie Howe and brother Marty on the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. In his first year in the WHA, 1973-74, Mark was awarded the Lou Kaplan Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year. He remained in the WHA until the merger with the NHL after 1978-79.
From 1979-80 until 1994-95, Howe played in the NHL for the Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. Mark was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1974 but never played with them. He was the NHL’s plus/minus leader in 1985-86 and he played for Stanley Cup finalists in 1986-87 with Philadelphia and 1994-95 with Detroit.