(SASKATOON, SK) – At the request of the Howe family, the cremated remains of Gordie and Colleen Howe will be interred in the base of the statue honouring Mr Hockey at SaskTel Centre. To make the interment possible, the City of Saskatoon must apply to the provincial government and ask that the statue and small portion of adjacent area be declared a cemetery.
“When Gordie and Colleen Howe’s family approached us with this idea, we thought it was a fitting tribute to someone who had always remembered his roots,” said Catherine Gryba, general manager of Corporate Performance. “It’s only appropriate that we do what we can to remember this great athlete, Saskatonian, and Canadian.”
Renowned hockey legend Gordie Howe died June 10, this year. While born in Floral, SK, Howe grew up and spent 16 years in Saskatoon before embarking on a record-setting hockey career in the United States. Numerous facilities in Saskatoon have been named in Howe’s honour, which reflect his Saskatoon origins.
“We’ve been speaking with the Howe family and will take the appropriate steps to safeguard and respect Gordie and Colleen’s ashes,” Gryba said. “They will be encased in a special concrete vessel with a commemorative plaque on top to protect them.”
The city’s Administration asked City Council for a resolution at its regular business meeting on the afternoon of August 18.
- That City Council designate a portion of land by SaskTel Centre where the Gordie Howe statue is situated as a cemetery in order to inter the ashes of Gordie and Colleen Howe; and
- That the Administration be directed to apply to the Province of Saskatchewan to have the land declared a cemetery in order to officially receive the ashes.
The recommendation passed unanimously.
The Saskatoon Blades and SaskTel Centre are planning other activities for September 25 to honour Gordie Howe and coincide with the statue commemoration. SaskTel Centre will cover the costs of the project up to a maximum of $6,000, and the Saskatoon Blades will cover any costs over and above that amount.
If the ashes are ever moved, the City must also ask the Province to rescind the cemetery designation at the statue location.