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Ted Lindsay

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Ted Lindsay
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
5 ft 08 in (1.73 m)
163 lb (74 kg)
Teams Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Black Hawks
Nationality Canadian
Born July 29,1925,
Renfrew, Ontario, Canada
Pro Career 1944 – 1960
1964 – 1965
Hall of Fame, 1966

Robert Blake Theodore "Ted" Lindsay (born July 29, 1925) is a former professional forward who played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Black Hawks. During his playing career, he helped to organize the National Hockey League Players' Association. He scored over 800 points in his career, won the Art Ross Trophy in 1950, and won the Stanley Cup four times. He was often referred to as "Terrible Ted".

Playing careerEdit

He was born in Renfrew, Ontario. Lindsay's father, Bert Lindsay, had been a professional player himself, playing goaltender for the Renfrew Millionaires, Victoria Aristocrats and Toronto Arenas. Ted played amateur hockey in Kirkland Lake, Ontario before joining the St. Michael's Majors in Toronto. In 1944 he played for the Memorial Cup champion Oshawa Generals.

His performance in the Ontario Hockey Association's Junior A league (now the Ontario Hockey League) earned him an invitation to try out with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and he made his big league debut in 1944 at the age of 19.

Having played amateur in Toronto, yet playing for Detroit, earned him the enmity of Toronto's owner Conn Smythe with whom he would feud for the length of his career.

Playing left wing with centre Sid Abel and right winger Gordie Howe, on what the media and fans dubbed the Production line Ted Lindsay became one of the NHL's premier players. Although small in stature compared to most players in the league, he was a fierce competitor who earned the nickname "Terrible Ted" for his toughness. His rough play caused the NHL to develop penalties for 'elbowing' and 'kneeing' to discourage hitting between players using the elbows and knees.

In the 1949–50 season, he won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer with 78 points and his team won the Stanley Cup. Over the next five years, he helped Detroit win three more championships and appeared with Howe on the cover of a March 1957 Sports Illustrated issue. Ted was the first player to lift the Cup and skate around the rink with it, starting a great tradition.

Players' UnionEdit

That same year, Mr. Lindsay attended the annual pension plan meeting as the representative of the Red Wings players, where he found that the plan was kept secret. Later that year when he attended a promotion with football and baseball players, he found out that conditions in the other sports' pro leagues were much better. He was introduced to the lawyers for the players of the other leagues and became convinced that only through an association could the players' conditions could be improved.

At a time when teams literally owned their players for their entire career, the players began demanding such basics as a minimum salary and a properly funded pension plan. While team owners were getting rich with sold out arenas game after game, players were earning a pittance and many needed summer jobs just to make ends meet. Almost all of these men had no more than a high school education and had been playing hockey as a profession all their working life. Superstars in the 1950s earned less than $25,000 a year and when their hockey playing days were over, they had nothing to fall back on and had to accept whatever work they could get in order to survive.

He and star defenceman Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens led a small group in an effort to organize the first National Hockey League Players' Association. In secret, all of the players at the time were contacted and asked for their support to form an "association", not a "union" which was considered going too far. Support was nearly unanimous.

Mr. Lindsay worked doggedly for the cause and many of his fellow players who supported the association were benched or sent to obscurity in the minor leagues. He and Harvey then became convinced that only a union could win the demands, and set up a schedule to get players' support on record to be certified as a union. In a defiant gesture, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings were targeted for certification votes. While Montreal's ownership was not opposing a union, Toronto's Conn Smythe was adamantly against it. In the United States, the four teams were controlled or under obligations to the Norris syndicate, but Detroit was the jewel. Despite Smythe's efforts, the Toronto Maple Leafs players unanimously voted to organize. Next was the turn of Detroit to organize, and the Norrises would fight back.

When asked about the formation of the NHLPA, Lindsay remarked:

Actually, we don't have many grievances. We just felt we should have an organization of this kind.

Trade to Chicago Black HawksEdit

Lindsay, one of the league's top players, was first stripped of his captaincy, then later was traded to the perpetual last place team, the Chicago Black Hawks. Jack Adams then planted false rumours about Ted and false defamatory comments by Ted against his old team in the press, and showed a fake contract to the press, showing an inflated annual salary. The ruse worked and the Detroit Red Wings players rejected the union. Harvey suffered a similar fate, being traded from Montreal to the New York Rangers.

However, Ted was not done. He initiated an anti-trust lawsuit against the league, alleging a monopoly since 1926. The players had a strong case, that could be easily proved with an exposition of the Norris syndicate's operations, and Frank Calder's efforts against the American Hockey Association (AHA) in 1926 and 1932, ironically involving James E. Norris on the AHA side. Also, the various Norris arenas were hiding revenues through ticket scalping and under-reporting arena capacities and actual ticket sales. Rather than face the lawsuit in court, the NHL, in an out-of-court settlement in February 1958, agreed to most of the players' demands, although the pension plan was not exposed until 1989, showing a surplus of $25 million. Although a union was not formed in 1958, a permanent union would be formed in 1967.

The actions of the Red Wings, while maintaining control over the players, hindered their on-ice record. Jack Adams was fired in 1961. Mr. Lindsay played in Chicago for three years before retiring in 1960. Four years later, his former linemate, Sid Abel, was the coach and general manager of the Red Wings and enticed the 39-year-old into making a comeback. He played just the one season, helping Detroit to its first regular season championship since his trade seven years earlier.

Retirement and LegacyEdit

The Red Wings didn't have enough room on their roster to protect Ted from being taken in the 1965 interleague draft. He badly wanted to retire as a Red Wing, and he and Abel planned to have him hide on the retired list for the 1965–66 season in anticipation of having him return for a "Last Hurrah" season the next year. However, the Leafs vetoed this gambit, forcing him to stay retired.

In his 1068 career regular season games Ted Lindsay scored 379 goals and had 472 assists for 851 points. He played 133 playoff games in addition and recorded 47 goals and 96 points. He was voted to the first All Star team eight times and the second team on one occasion. In 1966 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. On November 10, 1991, the Detroit Red Wings honored his contribution to the team by retiring his sweater No. 7. In 1998, he was ranked number 21 on the List of 100 greatest hockey players by The Hockey News.

In 1977 Lindsay was named General Manager of the Red Wings who were struggling just to make the playoffs. He turned things around, and was voted the NHL's executive of the year.

In 1972, When NBC paid the NHL for the rights to broadcast games on national TV in the USA, Ted was hired to do the color analysis along with Tim Ryan who did the play by play. His rough features left from the many cuts and stitches he accumulated during his playing days were visible anytime he appeared on camera. On October 18, 2008, The Red Wings commemorated Lindsay's outstanding hockey career, with an original statue commissioned by artist Omri Amrany (the same artist who created the Gordie Howe statue) on the Joe Louis Arena concourse.

Records and AchievementsEdit

He was the youngest player in NHL history to score 200 goals (27 years, 145 days) until he was surpassed by Gordie Howe (24 years, 321 days).

He was the youngest player in NHL history to score 500 points (28 years, 155 days) until he was surpassed by Gordie Howe (25 years, 320 days).

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1944–45 Detroit Red Wings NHL 45 17 6 23 43 14 2 0 2 6
1945–46 Detroit Red Wings NHL 47 7 10 17 14 5 0 1 1 0
1946–47 Detroit Red Wings NHL 59 27 15 42 57 5 2 2 4 10
1947–48 Detroit Red Wings NHL 60 33 19 52 95 10 3 1 4 6
1948–49 Detroit Red Wings NHL 50 26 28 54 97 11 2 6 8 31
1949–50 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 23 55 78 141 13 4 4 8 16
1950–51 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 24 35 59 110 6 0 1 1 8
1951–52 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 30 39 69 123 8 5 2 7 8
1952–53 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 32 39 71 111 6 4 4 8 6
1953–54 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 26 36 62 110 12 4 4 8 14
1954–55 Detroit Red Wings NHL 49 19 19 38 85 11 7 12 19 12
1955–56 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 27 23 50 161 10 6 3 9 22
1956–57 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 30 55 85 103 5 2 4 6 8
1957–58 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 68 15 24 39 110 - - - - -
1958–59 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 22 36 58 184 6 2 4 6 13
1959–60 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 68 7 19 26 91 4 1 1 2 0
1964–65 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 14 14 28 173 7 3 0 3 34
NHL totals 1068 379 472 851 1808 133 47 49 96 194

Records and AchievementsEdit

  • At the time of his initial retirement following the 1959-60 NHL season, he ranked 1st in NHL history in Games Played with 999, 3rd in Goals with 365, 2nd in Assists with 458, 3rd in Points with 823 and 1st in Penalty Minutes with 1635.

See AlsoEdit

Preceded by
Roy Conacher
Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
Succeeded by
Gordie Howe
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Sid Abel
Detroit Red Wings captains
Succeeded by
Red Kelly
Detroit Red Wings Head Coaches
Duncan • Adams • Ivan • Skinner • Abel • Gadsby • Harkness • Barkley • J. Wilson • Garvin • Delvecchio • L. Wilson • Kromm • Lindsay • Maxner • Dea • Polano • Neale • Park • Demers • Murray • Bowman • Lewis • Babcock

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