Mar 6, 2012, 8:55 PM EDT
The Philadelphia Flyers gave Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe a great ceremony to retire his number 2, with his family in attendance along with 20,000 of their closest friends. For those who may have missed it or just want to watch again, below is a video of the tribute the team put together to honor Howe, including the raising of his banner.
And here’s a transcript of Howe’s speech.
I stand before you today a proud yet humbled man. I am being honored tonight in the presence of the two teams that have been a part of my life for the past 30 years. In Detroit, I had the opportunity to play with the great Nik Lidstrom. I got to wear the uniform that my father proudly wore for 25 years. And I have had the opportunity to work for Mike and Marion Ilitch. Their passion for hockey and their compassion for those who have worn a Red Wing uniform is second to none.
I am, however, being honored here today for my playing days wearing the #2 as a Philadelphia Flyer. As I reflect upon those days, the passion for hockey and compassion for those who wore the Flyers uniform were equally displayed by Mr. Ed Snider. It was truly the “Flyers Family.” As I said at my Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech in November, when I first came to Philadelphia back in 1982, it was as if I was born to be a Flyer. The orange and black began to flow through my veins and instantly consumed my heart. The memories of playing for the Flyers will be a part of me forever.
I had the opportunity to play with and learn from Bill Barber and Bobby Clarke. They passed on to me the expectations that came with wearing a Flyers uniform. Throughout my 10 years, I had the privilege of playing alongside so many gifted players and an incredible staff. Pat Croce, Ed Van Impe, Cagey, Mike, Sudsy & Kurt, the medical staff, Gene Hart, Poulin, Propp and Kerr, Hexy, Pelle, Brownie, Chief, Homer, Illka, Tock, Ronnie & Rich, Cocker, Kjell, Brad Marsh, Cross and my dear partner the Beast. These people and many others contributed so much to this tremendous individual honor of having my #2 jersey hung in the rafters alongside Bernie Parent, Barry Ashbee, Bill Barber, & Bobby Clarke. Our teams from the mid 80’s will always have a special bond because of the work ethic and commitment we made to each other.
I am blessed to have my family by my side to share in this joyous event: Dad, Marty & Mary, Murray, Sharon, Travis and Kristine; Azia, Josh and Ella; and Nolan. And I know my mother is looking after me from above. I am incredibly lucky to be able to call you all family. I love you all.
I would like to applaud both the Red Wings and the Flyers organizations for doing all they have to financially help the families of those who lost their loved ones last September. I would also like to thank all of the men and women who have served in our armed forces and made all of this possible.
Over the course of 10 years, I wore my #2 jersey in front of a sold out Spectrum crowd. Sometimes we succeeded and sometimes I failed, but you always stood by my side and supported me, and for that I thank you, the fans.
On December 31st, I had the opportunity to wear my #2 Flyers jersey one last time at the Winter Classic in front of 46,000 passionate Flyers fans. The chills I got from hearing Lauren and Kate sing God Bless America and the thrill I got from scoring a penalty shot goal for my granddaughter Ella were incredible. To top that, I can only wish that the Red Wings and Flyers meet here in June for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
To the fans of Philadelphia and the entire Flyers organization, it was my honor and privilege to have represented your city and your team wearing the #2 jersey of the Philadelphia Flyers.
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