Is Gordie Howe the greatest hockey player to ever play the game?

he Howe family would like to thank friends, family and fans for your overwhelming well-wishes, prayers and support for Gordie. He suffered a significant stroke on Sunday morning while at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas. His condition remains guarded although he is showing some signs of improvement. We acknowledge that there is a long road to recovery ahead, but Dad's spirits are good and his competitive attitude remains strong. Anyone wanting to send cards or letters of support to Gordie, please send to: Gordie Howe c/o Texas Trailer Corral 12207 HWY 87 Lubbock, TX 79423

By Rich Winter

The news that Gordie Howe suffered a 2nd stroke recently while staying with his daughter in Lubbock, Texas caught my attention last week. 

Seems like Mr. Hockey wasn't doing so well for a minute and that we night not have him much longer to appreciate all this LEGEND did for the game. 

Gordie Howe played hockey in five different decades (40's - 80's)

So Gordie Howe started playing with the Detroit Red Wings in 46-47. Firs season he had 7 goals and 15 assists. 

His last season with the Red Wings was 70-71 when he produced 23 goals and 29 assists. 

In 79-80 was played with the Whalers...that season...19 goals and 24 assists. 

And he played 1 game with the Vipers in 1979-79.

Keep in mind Howe was born in 1928. He started in the league at age 18. In 79-80 (33 years later at the age of 51) he put in 19 goals and 24 assists.

A lot of people talk about the ironmen of sports, the Cal Ripkin Jr.s the Peyton Manning's (current old guy) that have played for decades. Hell, at age 38, Gordie Howe was just getting going. 

Look at his resume from Wikipedia - Gordon "Gordie" Howe, OC (born March 31, 1928) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player who played for the Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers in the World Hockey Association (WHA). Howe is often referred to as Mr. Hockey,[1] and is generally regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time.Howe is most famous for his scoring prowess, physical strength, and career longevity. He is the only player to have competed in the NHL in five different decades (1940s through 1980s). A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

Gordie of the greatest of all time.

* Four time Stanley Cup Champion

* Six Heart Trophies as the league's MVP.

* Six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.

NHL All-Time Goals Leaders

Games Played - Gordie Howe 1767 (1st)

Goals scored: 801 (2nd)

Assists: 1093

I'm sure most people consider Wayne Gretzky the greatest of all time. Can't say, don't care...I just wanted a few people to feel good about Gordie Howe for a minute and perhaps a whole new generation of hockey fans (Jake Elman) that might discover the greatest iron man of all time. 

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NFL - Is Mike Pettine the NFL coach of the year?

The Cleveland Browns have already exceeded expectations with seven wins this season. Should rookie head coach Mike Pettine be considered for NFL Coach of the Year?

By Rich Winter

Gotta admit I'm pulling for Cleveland to win the NFC north and make a trip to the playoffs. The fact that Cleveland is 7-4 and tied with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Baltimore just blows my mind.

Well done Cleveland!

So, about a month ago I checked on NFL coach of the year candidates. 

On Oct. 4 people were talking Bruce Arians, Mike McCoy and Jim Caldwell 

Well. we're creeping in on December and while I think Arians is still at or near the top of the list, Mike McCoy and Jim Caldwell have sunk a tier or two.

What about Cleveland coach Mike Pettine?

Not a gigantic fan of the Browns but with the Johnny Manziel circus there this season, I guess I've been paying a little more attention to the Browns than I normally would. 

It's funny how Pettine has taken this team from the Browns to a legitimate contender?

I think he's handled himself well in a few situations.

1. Finally putting a stop to the Johnny Manziel circus and just handling the whole situation brilliantly.

2. Letting Ben Tate go after Tate mouthed off about playing time - (Ya don't think the locker room respected the hell out of the coach for a minute after that happened)

3. Pettine has infused some serious energy into that Cleveland team. The mere fact they are in contention this late in the season is COY stuff for me. 

So Sportsblog nation...who gets your vote for NFL coach of the year. 

And good luck to you the rest of the way Cleveland. Wouldn't the Browns making the playoffs give that town some electricity?

Not that much excitement...but quite a bit!

Can the St. Louis Rams help bring peace to Ferguson Missouri?

The streets of Ferguson Missouri are a riot zone right now. The St. Louis Rams are hosting the Oakland Raiders this weekend and you wonder if the Rams will make any kind of gesture to perhaps help diffuse the situation?

By Rich Winter

Sometimes our lovely world of sports has to take a back seat to 'bigger' things and things that take on a significantly deeper meaning than the games we love to watch.

While the whole country is in a state of shock and turmoil over the events going on right now, ya gotta wonder if the NFL is proactively thinking about the upcoming game in St. Louis, just 12 miles away from Ferguson, against the Oakland Raiders.

While I'm guessing the NFL will likely go ahead and play the game in St. Louis, should they?

Sometimes sports helps bring a commonality to the fans that band together and cheer for their team. I think it will be interesting to see what, if any action the St. Louis Rams take this weekend during the game with Oakland.

To do nothing would be to ignore the elephant in the room.

I'm not sure what they should do..Thoughts?

Certainly the world of sports takes a back seat to the events going on in Ferguson right now. Perhaps by the time Sunday rolls around the Rams can help with a genuine, well thought out effort of some kind to at least acknowledge that something major went down in their community. 

A Rams win wouldn't hurt the cause, that's for sure!

God Bless and good luck to all.

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Remembering the top-25 female Native players in LNI history

Doni Decory, left, and Laura Big Crow, who both played high school basketball at Pine Ridge High School, were chosen to be part of the LNI 25. A ceremony at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center marked the occasion as plaques and jerseys were handed out to the former high school basketball LNI players. Decory played college basketball at BYU and Big Crow plays college basketball at Mayville State.

By Rich Winter - Reprinted with permission of the Rapid City Journal

RAPID CITY - The Dale Pine family of Pine Ridge never got the chance to see their daughter Cassandra become a star at the Lakota Nation Invitational girls basketball tournament.

Cassandra, a freshman at Red Cloud Indian School near Pine Ridge, took her own life just before the LNI in December 1998.

The Pine family decided to remember their daughter by honoring those female players who earned distinction over the past 25 years at the LNI.

Participating schools nominated 78 players from over the years, and athletic directors voted the top 15 for the Silver Anniversary team.

Dale Pine Sr., said his family sponsored naming the team to honor great athletes, and draw attention to the tragedy of teen suicide.

"If (suicide) is bad here, it's 10 times worse on the reservation," he said. "We can't bring Cassandra back, but one of these 15 players might be able to help one other person."

Pine said his daughter was an excellent student who idolized the late SuAnne Big Crow, a Pine Ridge standout who was a unanimous selection to the Top 15.

Big Crow died in a car accident while traveling to the 1992 Miss Basketball Awards.

Dale Pine, Jr., who organized the nomination and selection process, and researched the history of the players, said his sister learned from many of the honorees.

"A lot of the players helped her to get better," he said. "Maybe younger girls who see these players will be remembered in another 25 years."

"Some of the players are still in college and playing basketball," Pine Sr., added. "Most of them have gone on to be successful in their professions and active in their communities.

The list also includes Laura Big Crow, Doni Decory and Lolly Steele of Pine Ridge; Belva Clifford and Norma (Hernandez) Brown Bull of Little Wound; Brittany Knife and Alissa Kingfisher-Benoit of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte; Brittani Walker of McLaughlin, Lennea Mueller of Custer; Sunni Busch of Todd County; Sunshine Archambault and Christine Janis of Red Cloud and Dina Begay of St. Francis and Amanda Carlow of Rapid City Central.

Brown Bull, who graduated from Little Wound High School in 1986 after leading the Mustangs to the All-Indian Tournament, said sports can prepare athletes for a better future.

"Basketball has come a long way. It can help you get scholarships and further your education," she said after Friday night's ceremony at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

"This was a surprise. I'm sure proud," she said.

Also honored was former White River all-state selection Marc Strain Marshall of White River, wife of current White River basketball coach Eldon Marshall.

"This is White River's first year ever in the tournament and we wanted to recognize one of their all-time greats," Pine Sr., said.

The top 15 honorees are:

Amanda Carlow

Rapid City Central (1999)

Carlow was a record holder at NCAA Div. I Texas Pan American and an All-Independent Conference honorable mention selection. She was Dean of Students at Little Wound High School and is now currently a guidance counselor and basketball coach at Red Cloud Indian School.

SuAnne Big Crow

Pine Ridge (1992)

Big Crow led Pine Ridge to the 1989 State Class A girls championship, and won virtually every award given out at the LNI and state level. Big Crow died in a car accident while traveling to the 1992 Miss Basketball Awards.

Brittany Knife

Cheyenne-Eagle Butte (2002)

Knife graduated from Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School in 2002. She was a two time Class A all-state basketball player and received the 2001 LNI Most Valuable Player award. She graduated Black Hills State University and is planning on attending SDSU to further her education in the business field.

Dina Begay

St. Francis (1985)

Begay earned two undergraduate degrees from the University of South Dakota, and a Master's from Sinte Gleska University. She is a Captain in the South Dakota Army National Guard as a Patient Administration Officer with the Medical Command Unit out of Sioux Falls.

Norma (Hernandez) Brown Bull

Little Wound (1986)

Brown Bull scored 54 points in one game as a junior for the Mustangs, and led Little Wound to the All-Indian tournament title her senior year. She has been an educator for the last 13 years.

Sunshine Woman Archambault -Carlow

Red Cloud (1997)

Archambault-Carlow was an LNI Girl's All Tourney Selection as well as Scholarship Recipient in 1997. She played at the University of Pennsylvania, then finished her college career at Huron University, Huron, SD where she finished her basketball career. She has been a coach and administrator continues to play basketball, winning two National Indian Athletic Association (NIAA) Championships. She currently resides in Oak Harbor, Wash.

Lennea Mueller

Custer (2006)

Mueller was MVP at the 2005 LNI and is now playing basketball for Northern State University, where she is a double major in criminal justice and political science.

Brittni Walker

McLaughlin (2004)

A three-sport standout at McLaughlin, Walker currently plays for Minot State University and will graduate in May of 2008.

Doni Decory

Pine Ridge (1989)

DeCory is a three-year all-stater and winner of numerous LNI awards. She was a Miss Basketball finalist and was named South Dakota's USA Today Athlete of the Year in 1989. She finished her senior year as a Converse All-American. She played for Brigham Young University, where she was WAC Defensive Player of the Year and double sported on scholarship in basketball and track. She transferred to Utah State where she ended up as an All-America selection in the Big West Conference.

Sunni Busch

Todd County (2006)

Busch was a two-time all-state selection and a Miss Basketball finalist. She attends Chadron State College where she is a two-year starter on the basketball team and recently recorded the second triple-double in school history.

She earned four all-tournament jackets at the LNI basketball tourney, was named MVP twice and earned the Steve Withorne Award as a senior. She remains active in the community during the summers by working at Todd County Summer Rec.

Belva Clifford

Little Wound (1998)

Clifford led the Little Wound Lady Mustangs to the 1996 and 1997 district titles and two LNI semifinal appearances. She attended the US Junior Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, where she was named to the All-American team after leading Team South Dakota to the national championship along with fellow teammate Sarah DuBray. She attended Otero Junior college and still remains in the top 25 in all-time scoring at the Colorado school.

Christine Janis

Red Cloud (1992)

Janis led Red Cloud to the state finals as a senior and was named to the all-state team that season. She still holds the record for most steals in a game in the South Dakota-Nebraska All-Star game series. She also holds the state tournament record for most free throws in the championship game. Christine was named to the first team of the Lakota Times All-Star team and guided Red Cloud to two LNI championship games and was a four year starter. She was also selected to attend an athletic awards banquet in Chicago that year.

Lolly Steele

Pine Ridge (1984)

Steele won the inaugural Player of the Year honors in South Dakota for all classes. She led the LNI and state tournaments in scoring in 1984 and led Pine Ridge to three state tournament appearances. She was assistant coach when Pine Ridge won the state title on SuAnne Big Crow's game winner in 1989. She attended Huron University where she was a SDIC All-Conference selection and was recently named to the Huron and Lakota Basketball Hall of Fame's for her athletic accomplishments.

Marc Strain-Marshall

White River (1995)

Strain-Marshall is a multi-time all-state and all-conference selection and record holder, and one of the few female athletes in the state to have achieved a quadruple-double (22 points, 14 rebounds 10 steals, 10 assists versus Jones County in 1994 (10 steals, 10 assists, 14 rebounds and 22 points); played basketball at Northern State University. In 2005 Marc was named to the 1985-1994 State "A" All Decade Team along with SuAnne Big Crow and Doni DeCory. She is employed by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe as a Fitness Specialist for the Diabetes Prevention Program and is on the Board of Directors for the White Buffalo Calf Women's Society, Inc. Marc is married to White River head boys basketball coach Eldon Marshall.

(No information was available for Alissa Kingfisher-Benoist of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte)

Check out the all-time SD female Native American basketball scoring records.

The late Sue Ann Big Crow of Pine Ridge is the 6th leading scorer in South Dakota history.

By Rich Winter

I swear I just about pulled my hair out looking for these records. I googled South Dakota girls all time scoring records and nada. Finally this morning, I figured I'd try 'Where does Sue Ann Big Crow rank on the all time South Dakota scoring list and BAM....there is was.

So, let me try to piece together some of the state basketball scoring records and try to fit in where the Native American players I recognize fit in.

South Dakota all time scoring: (career)

6th - Sue Ann Big Crow - Pine Ridge - 2541

(Sue Ann is the only Native American player that I can find that is in the top-30


SuAnne Big Crow, Pine Ridge, 1989 67

Carla Allard, Bennett County, 1985 59

Norma Hernandez, Little Wound, 1985 58

Dina Begay, St. Francis, 1984 56

SuAnne Big Crow, Pine Ridge, 1991 54

Carla Allard, Bennett County, 1984 52

SuAnne Big Crow, Pine Ridge, 1991 51

Dina Begay, St. Francis, 1984 50

Carla Allard, Bennett County, 1984 50

Sarah DuBray, Pine Ridge, 1997 50

Jordan Stapp, Newell, 2003 49

SuAnne Big Crow, Pine Ridge, 1991 48

Most points in a single season: 

SuAnne Big Crow, Pine Ridge, 1989 761

SuAnne Big Crow, Pine Ridge, 1991 743

Carla Allard, Bennett County, 1986 735


Katie Krauth, West Central 78

Madina Clairmont, Crazy Horse, 1999 77

Kelli Barnhart, White River, 1986 73