02/05/2015 12:38 EST | Updated 04/07/2015 05:59 EDT

A true legend: Gordie Howe's legacy on and off the ice

The numbers don't lie. Gordie Howe truly is one of hockey's greatest legends. 

The 23-time NHL All-Star is known for his powerful skating and blistering shot throughout his illustrious career. His 801 goals and 1,850 points are proof of Howe's dominance.

As Saskatoon prepares to welcome Howe and his family for the Kinsmen Celebrity Sports Dinner, former players and fans are sharing their memories of Mr. Hockey's impact on and off the ice.  

Globe and Mail writer Roy MacGregor has written extensively on Howe's relationship with his sons. George Bowditch manages the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame in Swift Current. Saskatchewan's Fred Sasakamoose played against Howe in the 1950s. Here are some of their thoughts on Gordie Howe's legacy:

Roy MacGregor:

Howe and Jean Béliveau together set a standard of conduct and a standard of love of the fans. Respect for the game and respect for the people who love it, that has simply never been matched and has been passed on almost through the genes of Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky and now Sidney Crosby. So they really to me created the Canadian hockey personality that we love most. For that, we owe Gordie our thanks forever.

We're living through a winter of some pretty tough news. It's been a rough year for the world and maybe turning into a rough year for Canada. But there you have Gordie Howe coming back. Making one more grand comeback. Through all kinds of things we can't even understand like stem cell research and medical aid. And he's bouncing back, and that's kind of the way it should be. Gordie will never be kept down it seems.

George Bowditch:

He did so much to bring hockey out of the post-war era. He was a recognizable figure along with guys like Maurice Richard. There's no other played who has played as long as he has and played at such a high level. He played into his fifties when he played with his sons. 

Gordie Howe had respect out there. Every once in awhile, a young hockey player and maybe try and take few liberties with Gordie. One such fellow years ago played with the Montreal Canadiens, Louie Fontinato, decided to drop the gloves with Gordie. He lasted one punch and Gordie had him out for the night. That's the type of guy he was.

Fred Sasakamoose:

That he could be able to shoot with both hands is so impressive. Nobody in his world would be able to shoot both hands like Gordie Howe. He had big hands and could damn well push you away when he wanted to.

The way he scored the goals from the blue line in. He was dynamite from the blue line to the goal line.