Red Kelly

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Red Kelly
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1969
Red Kelly Maple Leafs Chex Card.jpg
Red Kelly with the Toronto Maple Leafs
Born (1927-07-09) 9 July 1927 (age 86)
Simcoe, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Defence (1947–1960)
Centre (1960–1967)
Shot Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1947–1967

Leonard Patrick "Red" Kelly, CM (born 9 July 1927) is a retired Canadian ice hockey player in the NHL. He played on more Stanley Cup winning teams (eight) than any player who never played for the Montreal Canadiens, and is the only player to be part of two of the nine dynasties recognized by the NHL in its history.[1] He was also a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto-area riding of York West from 1962 to 1965, while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Early career[edit]

Kelly attended secondary school in that community, then attended St. Michael's College School.[2] He grew up listening to Foster Hewitt's broadcasts of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and was particularly inspired by the style of their hard-charging defenceman, Red Horner. Kelly also attended Doan's Hollow Public School in Port Dover. However, while playing junior hockey for the St. Michael's Majors, he was encouraged to refine his style by his coach, former Leaf great Joe Primeau.

NHL career[edit]

Red Kelly with the Detroit Red Wings

Although the Majors were usually a talent pipeline for the Maple Leafs, the NHL club passed on Kelly after a scout predicted he would not last 20 games in the NHL, and the 19-year old joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1947. In 1954 he was runner-up for the Hart Memorial Trophy and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman, the first time the trophy was awarded and also won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1951, 1953 and 1954 as the NHL's most gentlemanly player.

An exceptional player at both ends of the ice, Kelly was known not only for his great checking skills as a defenceman, but also for his exceptional puck-handling and passing skills as well. he was one of the few defencemen in the pre-expansion era to have genuine offensive ability. Kelly used all these elements to help the Red Wings move the puck down the ice very quickly. When injuries hampered the team, he sometimes played as a forward (a position he adapted to easily when needed). In over 12 years as a Red Wing the team won eight regular-season championships, the Stanley Cup four times and Kelly was chosen as a First Team All-Star defenceman six times.

Late in the 1959 season, Kelly broke his ankle. The Red Wings kept the injury a secret, and Kelly played through the pain as the Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. However, midway through the next season, a reporter asked Kelly why he'd been off his game for much of 1959. Kelly replied, "Don't know. Might have been the ankle." When Red Wings general manager Jack Adams got wind of the story, he was furious, and immediately brokered a four-player deal in which Kelly was sent to the New York Rangers. However, Kelly scuttled the deal when he announced he would retire rather than go to New York. Maple Leafs head coach Punch Imlach stepped in and tried to talk Kelly into playing for him. Though he disliked Maple Leaf Gardens and as a young player was disappointed by the scathing assessment of that Toronto scout, Kelly agreed to be traded to the Leafs.

Once Kelly arrived in Toronto, Imlach asked him to become a full-time centre, figuring that Kelly could easily match up against the Montreal Canadiens' Jean Béliveau. The switch paid off. Already a great playmaker, Kelly turned Frank Mahovlich into one of the most lethal goal scorers in NHL history. He won his fourth Lady Byng Award in 1961. In his eight seasons with the Leafs, they won the Stanley Cup four times – the same number of times he'd won in Detroit.

In 1,316 regular season games, he scored 281 goals and 542 assists for 823 points. At the time of his retirement, he was seventh all time in career points, fifth in assists, 13th in goals, and second only to Gordie Howe in games played. In 164 playoff games, he scored 33 goals and 59 assists for 92 points.

Coaching career[edit]

After the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1967, Kelly announced his retirement as a player, and negotiated with the expansion Los Angeles Kings to be their inaugural coach on the strength of Imlach's assertion that Toronto would not stand in the way of Kelly's coaching career. However, Imlach insisted that Los Angeles draft Kelly in the expansion draft, and after the Kings failed to do so, refused to release Kelly's rights until Los Angeles traded a minor-league defenceman to the Leafs.[3]

Despite being the only rookie coach, and being in charge of the favourites to finish last, Kelly went on to guide the Kings to second place in the West Division and made the playoffs two years in a row.

In 1969–70, Kelly moved on to coach the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons, making the playoffs in his first and last seasons with the team. Kelly returned to the Maple Leafs as coach in 1973. He stayed in the position from 1973–74 to 1976–77. The team earned a playoff berth in all four seasons with Kelly as head coach but got eliminated in the quarterfinals each time. He was fired at the end of the 1977 season, ending 30 consecutive years at ice level in the NHL.

His final regular season coaching record was 261–311–128.

Political career[edit]

Leonard Patrick "Red" Kelly
CM
Member of the Canada Parliament
for York West
In office
1962–1965
Preceded by John Hamilton
Succeeded by Robert Winters
Personal details
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Andra Carol McLaughlin
m. 4 July 1959
Religion Roman Catholic
[2]

Kelly was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1962 federal election at the York West riding under the Liberal party led by Lester B. Pearson. He was re-elected there in the following year's election in which his Progressive Conservative opponent was future NHL agent Alan Eagleson.

Kelly continued to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs during his terms as a Member of Parliament. During the Great Canadian Flag Debate, he received opposition from Leafs owner Conn Smythe who opposed Pearson's plans to replace the Union Jack flag with the Maple Leaf.[4]

After serving two terms in the 25th and 26th Canadian Parliaments, Kelly left federal politics and did not seek re-election in 1965. He was succeeded in York West by fellow Liberal Robert Winters.

Achievements and facts[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1946–47 St. Michael's College Majors OHA 30 9 24 33 13
1947–48 Detroit Red Wings NHL 60 6 14 20 13 10 3 2 5 2
1948–49 Detroit Red Wings NHL 59 5 11 16 10 11 1 1 2 6
1949–50 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 15 25 40 9 14 1 3 4 2
1950–51 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 17 37 54 24 6 0 1 1 0
1951–52 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 16 31 47 16 5 1 0 1 0
1952–53 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 19 27 46 8 6 0 4 4 0
1953–54 Detroit Red Wings NHL 62 16 33 49 18 12 5 1 6 4
1954–55 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 15 30 45 28 11 2 4 6 17
1955–56 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 16 34 50 39 10 2 4 6 2
1956–57 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 10 25 35 18 5 1 0 1 0
1957–58 Detroit Red Wings NHL 61 13 18 31 26 4 0 1 1 2
1958–59 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 8 13 21 34
1959–60 Detroit Red Wings NHL 50 6 12 18 10
1959–60 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 18 6 5 11 8 10 3 8 11 2
1960–61 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 64 20 50 70 12 2 1 0 1 0
1961–62 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 58 22 27 49 6 12 4 6 10 0
1962–63 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 20 40 60 8 10 2 6 8 6
1963–64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 70 11 34 45 16 14 4 9 13 4
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 70 18 28 46 8 6 3 2 5 2
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 63 8 24 32 12 4 0 2 2 0
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 61 14 24 38 4 12 0 5 5 2
NHL totals 1316 281 542 823 327 164 33 59 92 51

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
LAK 1967–68 74 31 33 10 72 2nd in West Lost in first round
LAK 1968–69 76 24 42 10 58 4th in West Lost in second round
PIT 1969–70 76 26 38 12 64 2nd in West Lost in second round
PIT 1970–71 78 21 37 20 62 6th in West Did not qualify
PIT 1971–72 78 26 38 14 66 4th in West Lost in first round
PIT 1972–73 42 17 19 6 (73) 5th in West (fired)
TOR 1973–74 78 35 27 16 86 4th in East Lost in first round
TOR 1974–75 80 31 33 16 78 3rd in Adams Lost in second round
TOR 1975–76 80 34 31 15 83 3rd in Adams Lost in second round
TOR 1976–77 80 33 32 15 81 3rd in Adams Lost in second round
Total 742 278 330 134

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stanley Cup Dynasties". National Hockey League. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Normandin, Pierre G. (1965). Canadian Parliamentary Guide. 
  3. ^ McFarlane, Brian. 50 Years of Hockey. Greywood Publishing Ltd. 
  4. ^ Levy, Gary (1 June 1989). "Interview: Leonard (Red) Kelly". Canadian Parliamentary Review. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  5. ^ [family genealogist]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Edgar Laprade
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
1951
Succeeded by
Sid Smith
Preceded by
Sid Smith
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
1953, 1954
Succeeded by
Sid Smith
Preceded by
New award
Winner of the Norris Trophy
1954
Succeeded by
Doug Harvey
Preceded by
Ted Lindsay
Detroit Red Wings captain
195658
Succeeded by
Gordie Howe
Preceded by
Don McKenney
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
1961
Succeeded by
Dave Keon
Preceded by
Position created
Head Coach of the Los Angeles Kings
196769
Succeeded by
Hal Laycoe
Preceded by
Red Sullivan
Head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
196973
Succeeded by
Ken Schinkel
Preceded by
John McLellan
Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
197377
Succeeded by
Roger Neilson
Preceded by
Jack Riley
General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins
197072
Succeeded by
Jack Riley