Detroit Red Wings legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay died on Monday morning. He was 93 years old.
Lindsay suited up for the Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks during his 17-year NHL career. He accumulated 379 goals, 851 points and 1808 penalty minutes in 1068 games.
He also won the Stanley Cup four times with the Wings. (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955), while accumulating 47 goals, 96 points and 194 penalty minutes in 133 postseason games.
“Ted Lindsay was a Detroit Red Wings legend and icon, a hall of fame hockey player and Stanley Cup champion, and an even better person off the ice,” wrote Ilitch Holdings President and CEO and Red Wings Governor Christopher Ilitch in a statement. “He operated with a generous heart and was a great humanitarian, particularly to the Detroit Community and to young disadvantaged children. Ted was a great friend to my parents and to my entire family. He was endeared by legions of Detroit Red Wings fans and to all who played the great game of hockey. On behalf of Marian Ilitch and myself, our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. While he will be sorely missed by us and many others, his positive impact to the game and to our community will live on.”
If you pay close attention to the amount of penalty minutes he racked up throughout his career, you can easily see why he was nicknamed “Terrible Ted”. Despite being just 5-foot-8, Lindsay managed to play a robust style throughout his entire career.
Lindsay made up one third of Detroit’s “Production Line,” as he played left wing next to Sid Abel and Gordie Howe. As successful as he was on the ice, “Terrible Ted” also did wonders for his fellow players away from the rink. Lindsay and Montreal Canadiens great Doug Harvey were responsible for creating the first National Hockey League Players Association back in 1957.
Here’s an excerpt from Executive Director Don Fehr on the death of Ted Lindsay:
“All current and former NHL players lost a true friend with the passing of Ted Lindsay. “Terrible Ted” was one of the fiercest competitors to ever play in the NHL, and he enjoyed great success on the Detroit’s fabled “Production Line”, helping lead the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships. On the ice, Ted Lindsay was one of the best players to ever to put on a pair of skates. But his greatest legacy was off the ice. A true trailblazer in seeking to improve conditions for all players, Ted was instrumental in organizing the original Players’ Association in 1957. All Players, past, current and future, are in his debt. All those who have, and will follow him into the NHL, enjoy improved rights and benefits in large part due to the efforts he made.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement:
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing and celebrates the incomparable life of the legendary Ted Lindsay. One of the game’s fiercest competitors during his 17-season NHL career, he was among its most beloved ambassadors throughout the more than five decades of service to hockey that followed his retirement. In Detroit, he was a civic icon.
“What Lindsay lacked in physical stature, he possessed in intensity, desire and will to win. He played 1,068 NHL games for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, scoring 379 goals with 472 assists and 1,808 penalty minutes. He appeared in 11 All-Star Games and was named a First-Team All-Star eight times. He won the Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring leader in 1950 and, as a driving force on the dynastic Red Wingsteams of the 1950s – including as the left wing on the famed Production Line – he won the Stanley Cup four times.
“Named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, he had his No. 7 retired by the Red Wings in 1991 and was named one of the NHL’s Top 100 Players during the League’s Centennial Celebration in 2017. As influential off the ice as he was on the ice, Lindsay was instrumental in the formation of the NHL Players’ Association. In 2010, NHL players displayed their reverence for him by renaming their annual award for the most outstanding player the Ted Lindsay Award.
“There was no one quite like Ted Lindsay. We send our condolences to Ted’s children Blake, Lynn and Meredith, his stepdaughter Leslie, his six grandchildren and his three great grandchildren and join them in marveling at his incredible life.”
In April of 2010, the NHLPA announced that the Lester B. Pearson Award would be named the Ted Lindsay Award, which is given to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted upon by the members of the players’ association. Many consider this to be the more meaningful MVP award.
Lindsay was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.