Former hockey great Gordie Howe carries Olympic torch in SW Ontario

Hockey great Gordie Howe took a turn carrying the Olympic torch today in southwestern Ontario.

LASALLE, Ont. — Hockey great Gordie Howe took a turn carrying the Olympic torch today in southwestern Ontario.

The man known as Mr. Hockey seemed to have lots of elbow room as he carried the flame in the community of Lasalle.

Howe won four Stanley Cups as a member of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and is also known as Mr. Elbows for his tough playing style.

Earlier, it was an emotional morning for CFL legend Mike (Pinball) Clemons as he carried the Olympic flame through an Ontario village.

The former Toronto Argonauts player, coach and current vice-chair of the team, ran with the torch in North Buxton, south of Chatham.

Clemons said the Olympic flame represents “peace and unity” and a passion that makes people demand the most of themselves.

North Buxton was a refuge for American blacks escaping slavery and Clemons took note of that historical fact after his run.

He says it was difficult to put into words what it meant to run with the torch in a country that “has a history of embracing other people.”

“I’m American by birth,” said Clemons, “but Canadian by choice.”

The torch is scheduled to visit 12 communities on Day 55 of the marathon. In Windsor this evening, 17-year-old Matthew Charbonneau, whose older brother was killed in Afghanistan in September 2008, will light the city’s cauldron.

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