May 14, 2015 / 8:54 PM / 4 years ago

Canada-U.S. bridge to be named after hockey great Howe

NHL legend Gordie Howe walks with a friend while making his way to a dinner with other NHL legends like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Hull to honour his legacy in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan February 6, 2015. REUTERS/David Stobbe

(Reuters) - A planned bridge connecting Detroit with the Canadian city of Windsor, Ontario, will be named after Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, officials said on Thursday.

The 87-year-old Canadian, known as “Mr. Hockey” for a tough but skillful playing style that shattered records, was born in the small farming town of Floral, Saskatchewan, and spent his prime playing for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.

The bridge will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced during a presentation along the Windsor riverfront.

The publicly-owned bridge is expected to open in 2020 and provide a much-needed alternative for the Windsor-Detroit corridor, which is the busiest commercial land crossing between Canada and the United States.

Howe is one of the greatest hockey players of all time, perhaps eclipsed only by compatriot Wayne Gretzky in terms of goals and points but not in terms of grit and longevity.

A 23-time NHL All Star, Howe led Detroit to four Stanley Cup titles before retiring in 1980 as the all-time leader in career goals and points. Both records were later broken by Gretzky.

In his final NHL season Howe, the only player to compete in the league after turning 50, would play all 80 games, including the last handful after turning 52.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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