This NHL season has been marked by a lot of loss. From former commissioners to star players young and old, we’ve lost many heroes in our community. Now we’ve added Harry “The Horse” Howell to that list.
Howell died at 86-years-old on the evening of March 8, 2019. He passed at the assisted living facility he was residing in near Hamilton, Ontario, his hometown. His wife of 64 years, Marilyn, predeceased him by one month.
Howell was one of the star defensemen of the New York Rangers for seventeen of his twenty twos years as an NHL player. His other teams were the Los Angeles Kings and the Oakland/California Golden Seals. He holds the record for most games played in a Rangers jersey with 1,160 games. A seven time All-Star, a Norris trophy winner and a Hall of Fame inductee, Howell is a memory of old time hockey. Competing in a legendary field with stars like Bobby Orr and Jacques LaPierre, he set himself apart when possible and led the Rangers defensive core. He exemplified steady, smart defensive play and didn’t use his body alone to dominate despite his large stature.
On the other side of the bench, he had a storied career. He coached the Minnesota North Stars for 11 games. He served as a scout for the Edmonton Oilers and won his Stanley Cup with them in 1990. In the WHA, AHL and OHL, Howell played and coached for a number of teams. All told, Howell scored 101 goals and 360 assists in his twenty five years active as a professional hockey player.
Beloved and admired, Howell watched his prized number 3 be retired in 2009 at Madison Square Garden by the New York Rangers. He will surely be missed in the Big Apple and all over the NHL, remembered fondly for a winning smile, special grace and smart hockey. Rest in Peace, Howell. Every young defensive player looks up to you for making the position a star maker.