Growing up as the son of a hockey legend, Marty Howe and his younger brother, Mark, took fame all in stride, refusing to let the so-called public pressures affect their enjoyment of the game. Still, they knew they'd hear the many comparisons to their famous father, Gordie Howe. Marty once said that he did not even really want to be a professional hockey player until he made the Toronto Marlies at the age of 17.
Howe played two years of major junior hockey in the OHA with the Toronto Marlboros and was a member of the Memorial Cup champion team in 1973 along with brother, Mark. Howe was selected in the third round of the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, despite having already played a year of pro hockey with the Houston Aeros of the WHA. Howe had opted to leave junior a year early and ended up playing with the Aeros for four seasons. The Howe family made headlines when Marty, brother, Mark, and father, Gordie, all suited up for the same team. The Aeros won two WHA Avco Cup championships in 1974 and 1975, with all three Howes on the roster.
Marty was always deemed the easy-going brother. He never possessed the talent of younger brother Mark, or the determination to emulate his famous father. He tended to simply take things as they came. The third brother, Murray, chose to consciously distance himself from any comparisons to his famous father, knowing that it would be a no-win situation.
The Howe brothers and father, Gordie, were united again in the NHL in the 1979-80 season when Marty was called up for six games after having played most of his career in the minors. Father Gordie retired at the end of the season at the age of 52, but Marty and Mark continued on with their careers. After two more years in Hartford, Marty Howe joined the Boston Bruins for the 1982-83 season, playing 78 games, scoring a goal and 12 points. He returned to Hartford in 1983-84, dressing for 69 games. In 1984-85, Howe played his final 19 games in the NHL with the Whalers. The totals on his NHL career were 197 games played, two goals, 29 assists, and 31 points.