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Gordie Howe will tryout with AHL Syracuse Crunch

March 14, 1997 GMT

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ Gordie Howe, hoping to play hockey in a sixth decade, will try out for the Syracuse Crunch, the American Hockey League team said on Friday.

Howe, who retired from the NHL in 1980 at the age of 52, will spend the next two weeks training and hopes to play for the Crunch against the Carolina Monarchs on April 1, the day after his 69th birthday.

``He will only play if he can play,″ said Howard Dolgon, president and chief executive officer of the Crunch. ``He’ll decide that. He wants to play in six decades.

``Having a hero of Gordie’s magnitude wearing a Crunch jersey is truly a once in a lifetime honor for our players, fans and ownership.″

Howe scored a record 1,071 goals and 2,589 points in 32 professional seasons, first with the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL and then with the Houston Cougars of the WHA and Hartford Whalers in the WHA and NHL.

``I think it’s exciting and challenging to see how I might squeeze into the Crunch lineup,″ Howe said.

This is the 50th anniversary season of Howe’s first pro contract, signed with Detroit in 1946-47. He joined the Red Wings as a teen-ager and never played minor league hockey. The Crunch are the top minor league affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.