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NHL.com
Oct 17, 2006, 10:26 AM EDT

Film will highlight Gordie Howe's triumphant return to professional hockey to play with his two sons

LOS ANGELES -- Film producers Howard and Karen Baldwin are announcing a feature film project based on the origins of the World Hockey Association and professional return of hockey great Gordie Howe. The Baldwins also announced they will produce with David E. Kelley, who will also oversee the script process. The Baldwins will produce through their Baldwin Entertainment Group. Gordie Howe will executive produce. Mike Ilitch, Jr., whose family owns the Detroit Red Wings, will executive produce as well.

The announcement was made last night during the Red Wings / Los Angeles Kings game at Staples Center. Yesterday marked the 60th anniversary of Mr. Howe's first NHL goal. He played his first professional game with the Red Wings on October 16th, 1946.

Known as "Mr. Hockey," Gordie Howe had a spectacular five-decade career in the sport, during which he led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships and scored some 1,071 goals as a professional.

The film's story will focus on the 1973-74 season of the World Hockey Association, when Howe, then aged 44, returned to pro hockey after two years in retirement and played on the same team as his two sons, Mark and Marty (aged 18 and 19, respectively), in the upstart rebel league. In a remarkable, true-to-life underdog story, Howe ultimately led the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association to the AVCO championship and was named league MVP.

Long considered one of the premiere writers in Hollywood, David E. Kelley has been responsible for such hit television series as the current ABC acclaimed hit series "Boston Legal," "Ally McBeal," "The Practice" and "Picket Fences" and among many others, and has written films including "Lake Placid" and "To Gillian on her 37th Birthday." Kelley will turn his attention to this project following the launch of "Life on Mars" for ABC.

The Baldwins and Kelley have worked together twice before: Kelley penned "From The Hip" (which Baldwin executive produced) and also the 1999 hockey film "Mystery, Alaska," which was produced by Howard and Karen Baldwin, directed by Jay Roach and starred Russell Crowe.

Producer Howard Baldwin has a long and rich history in the world of professional hockey. He owned and operated the NHL and former World Hockey Association franchise The Hartford Whalers for 17 years (and was owner during Gordie Howe's final three professional hockey seasons with the Whalers). Among other honors during Baldwin's ownership, the Whalers also won the AVCO championship of the WHA. Baldwin later owned the two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins for 8 years. David E. Kelley's father, Jack Kelley, served as General manager and coach of the Hartford Whalers and was the President of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the early part of Baldwin's ownership.

"'Incredible' is too small a word to describe Gordie Howe and his achievements," said Howard Baldwin. "Simply put, he defined the sport of hockey - and to top all of that off, he's a class act. The story of him coming back from retirement to win the WHA championship, alongside his two sons no less, in a new league filled with some colorful characters, is as cinematic and as entertaining as it gets. We're delighted to be making this announcement and it's only fitting that we make this film with David, as we were all a part of this story."

"The World Hockey Association was part of my life growing up," said David Kelley. "Gordie Howe has always been an idol, so this project has special meaning for me."

"I am really excited that this film has come to fruition. The thrill of playing with my two sons that first year in Houston could only be surpassed by telling the story on the big screen," said Gordie Howe.

Part of this story will also be about the extraordinary role Colleen Howe, wife of Gordie, played as a mother, agent, and manager. "Colleen Howe was a woman ahead of her time - she was not only wife and mother to an incredible family, but manager to hockey phenoms," said Karen Baldwin. "She combined family and career with class and dignity. She was a very modern woman and is an inspiration to this generation of females in business."

"Like many, I idolized Gordie Howe throughout my youth in Detroit," said Mike Ilitch, Jr. "In recent years I was thrilled to play some charity hockey games with Gordie and Mark Howe." Ilitch added, "I am ecstatic (and grateful to the Baldwins) to help make the movie about Gordie Howe and his family. They are a unique and dynamic family and have a tremendous story to tell." Ilitch has produced several films since 1994, including the #1 hit "Lost in Space."

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i think thats pretty cool that they are now going to make a movie, i like that "Mr. Hockey" himself will be part of it. i also think that it is good that hockey is finally getting some popularity now instead of all the other sports in front of it... like football or baseball.
 

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sabresfan3 said:
i also think that it is good that hockey is finally getting some popularity now instead of all the other sports in front of it... like football or baseball.
I agree I was just reading in the Hockey News today how the "NHL Profile gets boost" with the new commercials with Forsberg and Cheechoo. The movie Bon cop Bad Cop and the new tv show Rent-a-goalie.
 
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