DETROIT (WJRT) - (6/14/16) Famous fans and maybe even some of your friends lined up to see Gordie Howe one last time at the Joe today.
Fans sent condolences by writing notes and fond memories on a wall outside JLA. The casket is on the floor of the arena and the line stretches out the door and around the corner. People from across Michigan and Ontario have been arriving in droves.
"Obviously he touched millions of people. I would say it is a sad day because we lost a great figure in the game of hockey but overall I would have to say he had a full life and I think we're going to celebrate it," said Terrence Sheehan of the Greater Flint Hockey Association.
"He was a great ambassador for the game. He did things on the ice as well as off the ice. He was a good sportsman, a good teammate. Just a good guy all around," said John Hansel of Goodrich.
And people who met Howe were impressed with how down to earth he was. They tell Howe stories that happened years ago.
"I won an auction once. He was in my golf cart for 18 hoes and I'm telling you it was the highlight of my sports world. I would not miss this for anything," said Dave Hamilton of Allen Park.
One man has a hockey stick signed by Howe and a story to go with it.
"I put the stick in front of him and he turns around a looks at me and says Where'd you get the stick? I said my uncle got it for me, Mr. Howe. He just laughed and signed it and gave it back to me," said Al Pelgus, of Sterling Heights.
Howe played 32 professional seasons with the Red Wings, the Houston Aeros and Hartford Whalers. He made friends wherever he went.
"I would have to see him as the number one representative of how to do it right. How to have class, how to be a champion and still be humble," said Jeff Cardinal of Taylor.
Wednesday's funeral service is in Detroit and open to the public.