The Athletic’s Max Bultman engaged in a lengthy Q and A with Mark Howe this morning, discussing many topics with the 66-year-old hockey legend, who’s just retired from his job as the Red Wings’ director of pro scouting:
What made this the right time for you to retire?
Well, it’s hard to explain. I remember when I used to ask my dad when I was a player, every once in a while I’d call him and say, ‘Dad, how do you know when it’s time to retire?’ And all he said was, ‘Ah, you’ll know.’ And I always used to say, ‘Well dad, that’s a bad answer. Doesn’t help me at all,’ and we’d laugh, but I think it was maybe about two years into it, a year and a half, something like that, and I was coming home from a game down at the Joe. We beat somebody convincingly, and I did my job, and the team won and it was a routine victory, but it hit me that night: I just didn’t feel the same anymore, for whatever reason. So I remember I called Dad up in Traverse City, I said, ‘Well, I get what you’re talking about now,’ and I made the decision that night it was time to retire.
I think last year, I think with all that was going on with the pandemic and with so much going on, and (there had) been a health issue with my longtime girlfriend here at home, so I think you put it all together. But the bottom line was, and I told Steve Yzerman, I just said, ‘Steve, it’s time. I know it’s time.’ I’ve worked really hard at scouting. I put as much effort into it as I did my playing days, and I just can’t do the 150, 155 games and all the travel and all that, the big commitment that it takes to do the scouting job properly — the way I would go at it every year.
My body and brain and everything else were saying it’s time to go, and it’s time to let it go and move on to the next step in my life. So that’s basically what it came down to.