Ted Lindsay

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Ted Lindsay
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1966
Ted Lindsay.jpg
Ted Lindsay at a book signing in Joe Louis Arena, December 10th, 2011.
Born (1925-07-29) July 29, 1925 (age 88)
Renfrew, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 163 lb (74 kg; 11 st 9 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Black Hawks
Playing career 1944–1960
1964–1965

Robert Blake Theodore “Terrible Ted" Lindsay (born July 29, 1925) is a former professional ice hockey player, a forward for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He scored over 800 points in his Hockey Hall of Fame career, won the Art Ross Trophy in 1950, and won the Stanley Cup four times. Often referred to as "Terrible Ted", Lindsay helped to organize the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) in the late 1950s, an action which led to his trade to Chicago.

Playing career[edit]

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

Lindsay's performance in the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A League (now the Ontario Hockey League) earned him an invitation to try out with the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL and he made his big league debut in 1944 at the age of 19. Lindsay played only one game in the AHL, with the Indianapolis Capitals, during the 1944–45 AHL season.[1]

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," 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.[2]

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.[3] Lindsay was the first player to lift the Cup and skate around the rink with it, starting a great tradition. During a 2013 signing in the Greater Vancouver area, Lindsay is quoted as telling a fan that he didn't mean to start a tradition, that he only wanted to bring the cup to the rinks edge where the fans could see it. He did not lift the cup above his head at that moment, as was adopted in subsequent years.

Players' union[edit]

That same year, 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 be improved.

At a time when teams literally owned their players for their entire careers, 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,[citation needed] players were earning a pittance and many needed summer jobs to make a living. 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 playing days were over, they had nothing to fall back on and had to accept whatever work they could get in order to survive.

Lindsay 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.

Lindsay worked doggedly for the cause and many 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. 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.[4]

For his role in the establishing the original Players' Association, the Lester B. Pearson Award was renamed to the Ted Lindsay Award in his honor. In 1995, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced the hockey movie "Net Worth" that depicts Lindsay's battle to create the NHL Players' Association.

Trade to Chicago Black Hawks[edit]

Lindsay, one of the league's top players, was first stripped of his captaincy, then was traded to the struggling Chicago Blackhawks. Jack Adams then planted rumours about Lindsay and false defamatory comments by him 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 Red Wings players rejected the union. Harvey suffered a similar fate, being traded from Montreal to the New York Rangers.

Lindsay 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 exposure 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 attempt to organize the players was the subject of a 1995 TV movie by the CBC, entitled Net Worth, based on the Lindsay chapters in the book of the same name.[5]

The actions of the Red Wings, while maintaining control over the players, hindered their on-ice record. Jack Adams was fired in 1961. 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 legacy[edit]

The Red Wings did not have enough room on their roster to protect Lindsay in the 1965 interleague draft. He wished 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, when Maple Leafs owner Stafford Smythe got wind of this gambit, he pressured the league into vetoing it, forcing Lindsay to stay retired.

Lindsay's #7 banner hanging in Joe Louis Arena

In his 1,068 career regular season games, 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 Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Lindsay was the play-by-play announcer for the New York Rangers on WOR-TV. His signature saying was "that's laying the lumber on 'em" when someone got away with a good hit with a stick.

In 1972, NBC paid the NHL for the rights to broadcast games on national TV in the U.S. Lindsay was hired to do the color analysis, along with Tim Ryan, who did the play-by-play. Lindsay's rough features, the legacy of the many cuts and stitches he accumulated during his playing days, were visible whenever he appeared on camera.

In 1977, Lindsay was named general manager of the Red Wings, who were struggling just to make the playoffs. Soon after taking over as general manager he appeared in television commercials promoting the slogan " Aggressive hockey is back in town". For his efforts, he was voted the NHL's executive of the year. He also served as General Manager of the Johnstown Red Wings in the Eastern Hockey League during the 1979-80 season.

Lindsay is currently an "Honored Member" of the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association and is active in its efforts to raise money for children's charities in Metro Detroit. He attended the Special Olympics Sports Celebrities Festival in Toronto in December 2008.

On October 18, 2008, the Red Wings commemorated Lindsay's career with an original statue commissioned by artist Omri Amrany, who also created the Gordie Howe statue, on the Joe Louis Arena concourse.

The Ted Lindsay Foundation was founded in 2001 to fund research into a cure for autism.[6] it has raised over $1.5 million to find a cure for autism. This research is not endorsed by the scientific community at large. His foundation donated over $100,000 to the Thoughtful House Center for Children in 2007.[7]

On April 29, 2010, the NHL Players' Association announced that the Lester B. Pearson Award would be reintroduced as the Ted Lindsay Award for his skill, tenacity, leadership, and role in establishing the original Players' Association.[8] The award is given annually to the NHL's most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the members of the Players' Association.[9]

Lindsay is a third cousin to Bob Errey, who won back to back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s as well as being a distant relative of brothers Bert and "Con" Corbeau both of whom were on Stanley Cup winning teams.

Career statistics[edit]

    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

Awards and honours[edit]

Source: Who's Who in Canadian Sport.[10]

NHL coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Detroit Red Wings 1979-80 9 2 7 0 (63) 5th in Norris Missed playoffs
Detroit Red Wings 1980-81 20 3 14 3 (56) 5th in Norris (fired)
Total 29 5 21 3

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=3161
  2. ^ [Cruise]
  3. ^ "Gordie Howe". Sports Illustrated. 1957-03-18. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  4. ^ Dryden, Steve (2000). The Hockey News: Century Of Hockey. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9. 
  5. ^ imdb.com - "Net Worth" - (1995)
  6. ^ http://www.tedlindsay.com/about_foundation.html
  7. ^ "Thoughtful House Annual Report 2007". 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=527532
  9. ^ "Lester B. Pearson Award history". Legendsofhockey.net. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  10. ^ Ferguson 2005, p. 263.
  • Cruise, David; Griffiths, Alison (1990). Net Worth: Exposing the myths of pro hockey. Stoddart Publishing. 
  • Ferguson, Bob (2005). Who's Who in Canadian Sport. Fitzhenry and Whiteside Ltd. ISBN 1-55041-855-6. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Roy Conacher
Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
1950
Succeeded by
Gordie Howe
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Sid Abel
Detroit Red Wings captain
195256
Succeeded by
Red Kelly
Preceded by
Alex Delvecchio
General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings
1977-80
Succeeded by
Jimmy Skinner
Preceded by
Bobby Kromm
Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings
1980
Succeeded by
Wayne Maxner