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Mr. Hockey's family likes idea of naming international bridge after Gordie Howe

Hockey legend Gordie Howe speaks at a sports celebrity dinner at TCU Place in Saskatoon on Friday, Feb. 5, 2010, in Saskatoon, Sask. The son of hockey great Gordie Howe is all in favour of naming a new bridge linking Windsor, Ont., and Detroit after his father. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Troy Fleece

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Hockey legend Gordie Howe speaks at a sports celebrity dinner at TCU Place in Saskatoon on Friday, Feb. 5, 2010, in Saskatoon, Sask. The son of hockey great Gordie Howe is all in favour of naming a new bridge linking Windsor, Ont., and Detroit after his father. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Troy Fleece

TORONTO - The son of hockey great Gordie Howe is all in favour of naming a new bridge linking Windsor, Ont., and Detroit after his father.

After all, Marty Howe notes, the legendary Detroit Red Wings right winger himself is a bridge between Canada and the U.S.

"It would be a nice honour to have the new bridge named after Gordie as he was born in Canada," said Marty Howe in an email.

"He crossed the bridge on his way to Detroit to start his long lasting hockey career."

Another reason: Howe's "love" for the people of Detroit, he said.

The proposed crossing would be the second bridge linking the two cities.

Canada has signed off on the project, while Michigan legislators are still debating its merits.

The idea of naming the crossing after the Stanley Cup winner came from David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association, who's lobbied for the project.

Bradley, a keen hockey fan, floated the name at hearings in Lansing, Mich., last summer.

"We were trying to think about the things that Windsor and Detroit and Canada and the U.S. have in common, and Gordie Howe sort of came to mind," said association spokesman Doug Switzer.

"We could think of no better ambassador for joint Canadian-U.S. co-operation than Gordie Howe."

The idea only generated some smiles at first but picked up speed after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said recently he wanted to find a new name for the proposed Detroit River International Crossing, or DRIC.

"Gordie Howe is a legend and the governor is a fan," said Snyder's spokeswoman, Sara Wurfel.

Still, she didn't say whether he favoured naming the bridge after Mr. Hockey.

New Democrat MP Brian Masse said he wasn't ready to name the bridge after the hockey hero just yet.

The Windsor West MP has written federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl asking that members of the public in both countries be given a chance to name the bridge.

"It's clear that Gordie Howe has a great reputation as an icon for the Detroit Red Wings and actually Windsor-Essex County and Michigan too," Masse said.

"(But) I would prefer to see kids have an opportunity to submit names to a panel and have that chosen."

He said that would be better than Canada and the U.S. ending up in a face-off over a name.

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