Fans pay final respects to Gordie Howe

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DETROIT – Hockey fans are streaming into Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena to pay their final respects to NHL legend Gordie Howe.

The Hall of Famer, who died Friday at age 88, is lying in repose at the rink for today’s public visitation.

The tribute began at 9 a.m. and the doors will remain open until 9 p.m. — a nod to Howe’s iconic No. 9 Red Wings jersey.

A few hundred people — many wearing Howe sweaters — lined up to be among the first inside.

There are two large banners outside the entrance where fans can write messages of sympathy. Inside the arena, the lights have been dimmed with No. 9 projected on the ice.

Howe’s funeral is set for Wednesday. It will also be open to the public.

Howe was a star forward for the Red Wings during much of his career, which started in 1946 and ended in 1980.

Born in Floral, Sask., Howe set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points.

His records were eventually eclipsed by Wayne Gretzky, who called Howe the greatest hockey player ever.