The first time I met him was at the old Olympia in Detroit.
"Who you looking for?" one of the Whalers asked at the door of the visiting team's locker room.
The player took two steps in and yelled, "Gramps! You got a visitor."
And there he was.
There was Gordie Howe, leaning back against the locker room wall, sitting between his sons, Mark and Marty. There he was, with those sloped shoulders running down from his neck like twin ski jump ramps. There he was, biceps still popping from under his sweat-soaked, one-piece white underwear.
He held out his right hand, only it wasn't a hand. It was a giant vise. He...