All eyes were on 49-year old Gordie Howe on this Tuesday evening in Indianapolis in November 1977. Three network film crews were in the house at Market Square Arena, hoping to record the New England Whalers star as he scored his 1,000th professional goal. Instead the legend got himself tossed out of the game.
Howe managed to get off a couple of shots in the first period, but they were turned away by Indianapolis Racers goalie Gary Inness. While the Racers bottled up Howe, Mike Antonovich picked up the slack for New England, scoring a hat trick to pace a 6-4 Whalers victory.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Howe picked up a two-minute minor for tripping. Howe flicked the puck in disgust, inadvertently (?) dinging referee Ron Ego. In a move reminiscent of Billy Crystal ejecting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from his farewell game (Forget Paris, anyone? No?), Ego promptly slapped the legend with a game misconduct penalty.
Ultimately it would take Gordie Howe 11 more games to get his 1,000th goal. The historic tally finally game on December 6th, 1977 against the Birmingham Bulls. To this day, Howe remains the only player with 1,000 pro goals.
All things considered, it would have been a nice gesture for the Racers to put Gordie Howe on the cover of the evening’s game program (above right), but that’s Whalers captain Rick Ley pictured instead.