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Entire Howe Family to be Saluted with Banner-raising;

First 2,000 Fans to Receive Commemorative Howe Program

HARTFORD, March 3, 2011: Whalers Sports and Entertainment president and COO Howard Baldwin Jr. announced today that the Connecticut Whale’s home game Saturday, March 26 at the XL Center will feature a “Howe Family Night” celebration, honoring the great Gordie Howe, his sons, Marty and Mark, and late wife, Colleen.  The Whale take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers that night in a 7:00 PM GEICO Connecticut Cup game.

A new banner saluting the Howes, “hockey’s first family”, will be raised to the XL Center rafters, and area hockey fans will have an opportunity to salute the entire Howe clan for their contributions to hockey in the Hartford market.

“In a lot of ways, Gordie Howe really put Hartford on the hockey map,” Baldwin said.  “He brought true greatness to the city, and helped usher the Whalers into the NHL.  We feel that now is the perfect time to honor him and his legendary family, with so many great things going on with the Whale, the Harvest-Properties.com Whalers Hockey Fest having been such a momentous event, and so much excitement around hockey in Connecticut right now.”

Prior to the game, fans can meet Gordie, and get a personalized autographed book and photo, by purchasing a copy of  the colorful 185-page book “Howe #9”.   The book sells for $70 and he will begin signing copies at 5:30 PM in the XL Center atrium.  In addition, the first 2000 fans in attendance will receive a free commemorative 36-page Gordie Howe tribute program, loaded with full color photos and stories.

Gordie Howe, the NHL’s all-time leader in seasons-played (26) and games-played (1,767) and second all-time leading goal-scorer (801), joined the WHA’s New England Whalers in June of 1977, along with Marty and Mark, with whom he had been playing with the Houston Aeros.  Gordie skated for the Whalers in their final two WHA seasons, 1977-78 and 1978-79, totaling 53 goals, 86 assists, 139 points and 136 penalty minutes.  He then brought down the curtain on his brilliant career with a 15-goal, 41-point performance in 80 games with the Whalers in their first NHL season, 1979-80.

Mark Howe played 929 NHL games, and another 426 in the WHA, in a 22-year pro career that spanned from the 1973-74 season through 1994-95.  Playing both forward and defense, Mark amassed NHL totals of 197 goals and 545 assists for 742 points, along with 455 penalty minutes, in 929 games with the Whalers, Philadelphia and Detroit.  In his Hartford tenure, in 213 career NHL games, Mark totaled 51 goals and 147 assists for 198 points and had 92 penalty minutes.  In 147 total WHA games with the Whalers, he scored 72 goals and added 126 assists for 198 points and served 64 minutes in penalties.

Marty Howe, a defenseman, played 141 total WHA games with the Whalers in 1977-78 and 1978-79, scoring 19 goals and adding 25 assists for 44 points while serving 97 minutes in penalties.  He remained with the Whaler organization through the 1984-85 season, logging 197 NHL games, in which he scored a total of 31 points, two goals and 29 assists, and had 99 PIM.

Colleen Howe, who passed away in 2009, was married to Gordie for 56 years and was the matriarch behind all of the family’s countless hockey accomplishments.  A keen hockey and business mind in her own right, Colleen was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in recognition of her tireless work in youth hockey and other humanitarian efforts.  Colleen handled all of the family’s business affairs, including the negotiation of Gordie’s Whaler contracts and his personal endorsements.

Tickets for the March 26 game, and all 2010-11 Whale home games, are available now at the XL Center box office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.  Tickets start at $7 each at the XL Center ticket office on game day.

Fans who did not attend the Whale’s Harvest-Properties.com Whale Bowl game against Providence at Rentschler Field in East Hartford because of the weather can redeem their tickets for one to “Howe Family Night” or another game of their choice. If fans want to redeem a ticket, they should contact Baldwin at hlb@whalerssports.com.

For information on Whale ticket packages, group sales and VIP packages, call (860) 728-3366.

The AHL’s CT Whale is operated by Whalers Sports and Entertainment, a Hartford-based sports marketing and event firm founded by Howard Baldwin.  The team is the top player-development affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Since 1972, the CT Lottery has generated more than $19.3 billion in sales and has transferred nearly $6.7 billion to the state’s General Fund.  Prizes have exceeded more than $11.1 billion.  Purchasers must be 18 years or older.  If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-346-6238.  For more information about the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, call (860) 713-2000, or visit the CT Lottery web site at ctlottery.org.


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