It has been a very sad week in the National Hockey League and unfortunately we have one more piece of bad news to share with all of our readers.
According to a report from The Hamilton Spectator former long time member of the New York Rangers organization Harry Howell has passed away at the age of 86. According to the report Howell passed some time late on Saturday night although the details of his passing are not known at this time, we hope that he passed peacefully and was surrounded by loved ones at the time.
Several of Howell's former teammates have since come out to offer kind words upon learning of his passing last night.
"He was a gentleman," says Dean Prentice, who played with him in junior and was called up to the Rangers the same day as Howell back in 1952. "He was well-liked by everybody and he always had a smile."
"He was very, very humble," says longtime Ranger Vic Hadfield as per the Hamilton Spectator. "Almost basically shy. But once you got to know Harry, and it didn't take very long, he was a wonderful person."
"He was one of the kindest men I've ever met," says Hall of Famer Brad Park.
Howell was a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and had an incredible career over a very long span of time in the National Hockey League, although many of today' hockey fans will have never had the chance to watch him play. Howell appeared in a whopping 1411 games during his career in the NHL and collected a very respectable 94 goals and 324 assists for 418 career points from the blue line, all the while adding nearly 1300 penalty minutes on top of that.
Howell was also a Norris Trophy winning defenseman, capturing the last Norris Trophy of the pre expansion era in the National Hockey League. NHL legend Bobby Orr would finish second in the voting that season and Howell stated at the time that he was happy he had won as he felt Orr would go on to dominate the award. Howell was correct in his prediction with Orr winning the Norris for the next 8 seasons in a row.
Although he would never win a Stanley Cup Championship as a player his love for hockey eventually landed him a job as a scout for the Edmonton Oilers where he would win a Stanley Cup Championship as a scout for that organization in 1990. His jersey remains one of the few that hang in the rafters of Madison Square Garden to this day and his #3 has been retired by the Rangers in his honor.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Howell family and to all of Harry's loved ones at this most difficult of times.