In this Journey in to Hockey, we speak with Harry Howell, longtime star for the New York Rangers.
A stalwart, stay at home defenceman, in 1967 Howell was the last player in the pre-expansion era to win the Norris Trophy, and famously (and prophetically) said that ‘he was glad he won the trophy then, because Bobby Orr would from then on forward.’
Howell’s playing weight was 195 and he stood 6 foot 1 inches tall. He played seventeen years wearing number 3 for the Rangers then he played another eight years in professional hockey; two with Oakland/California Seals, three with the Los Angeles Kings, and one each with three WHA teams: New York Golden Blades/New Jersey Knights, San Diego Mariners, and Calgary Cowboys.
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Howell played 1411 NHL games and 170 WHA games, scoring 101 goals and 360 assists for 461 points. He was named a First Team All-Star in 1967, and played in All-Star Games in 1054, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1970. When he left the NHL, Howell had played more games as a defenceman than anyone else, and remains sixth in all time games played as a defenseman. He also holds the record for most games played in the NHL wearing the same New York Rangers sweater: 1160.
We spoke to Harry over the winter just prior to the time that his #3 jersey, along with Andy Bathgate’s #9 was retired by the Rangers during a special ceremony prior to the February 22, 2009 match versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.
We chatted about his career - especially the years in New York, many of which may have been lean in the “W column, but were nonetheless full of warm recollections.