Cheech deserves piece of Howe’s last goal

John Garrett speaks with the boys on HOCKEY CENTRAL about his respect for Gordie Howe and why giving him the second assist on Howe's last goal in the NHL would mean so much to him.

April 9, 1980: Gordie Howe* scores his final goal in the National Hockey League after taking a pass from his son Mark.

But who passed the puck to Mark?

None other than Hartford Whalers goaltender John “Cheech” Garrett, who swept the puck around the boards to the younger Howe and kick-started the father-son rush into the Montreal Canadiens’ zone.

Yet Garrett, now a Vancouver Canucks analyst for Sportsnet, was never awarded his rightful secondary assist on the historic marker. (Gordie’s last goal celebrated its 33rd anniversary this week in a modest ceremony attended only by close friends.)

With Garrett flexing his weight as a regional hockey voice, a Twitter campaign tagged #giveittocheech was ignited to encourage the NHL to adjust its books and award the long-retired goaltender with an additional helper on the play. (Garrett is stuck on six career assists, just 1,956 shy of Wayne Gretzky’s record.)

Wednesday night, the movement went about as viral as outrage over an uncredited 33-year-old second assist can get, earning in the ballpark of 1,000 mentions.

Until this week, “Give it to Cheech!” was only something yelled at Chong when he was bogarting.

*How glorious is that full name stitched on the back of the Hartford jersey, by the way?