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|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1969|
Red Kelly with the Toronto Maple Leafs
9 July 1927 |
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)|
|Played for||Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Leonard Patrick "Red" Kelly, CM (born 9 July 1927) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player and coach in the NHL. He played on more Stanley Cup winning teams (eight) than any player who never played for the Montreal Canadiens, and is only player to have never played for the Canadiens to be part of two of the nine dynasties recognized by the NHL in its history. On January 1, 2017, in a ceremony prior to the Centennial Classic, Kelly was part of the first group of players to be named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history. 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.
Kelly attended secondary school in that community, then attended St. Michael's College School. 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.
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.
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 minor-league defenceman Ken Block to the Leafs. 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.
He left the Kings for a one-year contract to succeed Red Sullivan as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins on 2 July 1969. After the Penguins ended the 1969–70 season with its first-ever playoff appearance and advanced to the semifinals, Kelly signed a five-year, $250,000 contract on 21 May 1970 to continue as coach and also become the general manager, replacing Jack Riley. With the team struggling in sixth place in the NHL West Division during a stretch of winning only two of 22 contests and having failed to qualify for the postseason in 1970–71, Kelly was pressured to relinquish his general manager title back to Riley on 29 January 1972 in order to concentrate on his coaching duties. Amid a slump in which the Penguins won only two games with three draws and seven losses and slid into fifth place in the eight-team NHL West Division, Kelly was fired and replaced by Ken Schinkel on 13 January 1973.
Kelly returned to the Maple Leafs after signing a four-year contract to succeed John McLellan as coach on 20 August 1973. He stayed in the position from the 1973–74 season 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. A bizarre aspect of his tenure as Maple Leafs coach occurred during the 1975–76 quarterfinal series when he promoted pyramid power amongst his players to counter the Philadelphia Flyers' use of Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America." He hung a plastic model of a pyramid in the team's clubhouse after a pair of away defeats to start the series. The players embraced the superstition after observing team captain Darryl Sittler first place his hockey sticks beneath the pyramid and then stand under it for exactly four minutes. The Maple Leafs managed to win all three of its home matches before losing the series' decisive Game 7. Kelly was fired at the end of the 1976-1977 season, ending 30 consecutive years at ice level in the NHL.
Kelly coached 742 regular season games during his NHL career of which his team won 278, lost 300 and tied 134. He coached 62 NHL playoff games winning 24 of these.
|Leonard Patrick "Red" Kelly
|Member of the Canada Parliament
for York West
|Preceded by||John Hamilton|
|Succeeded by||Robert Winters|
|Spouse(s)||Andra Carol McLaughlin
m. 4 July 1959
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 defeated Conservative incumbent John Hamilton by over 4,000 votes. He was re-elected there in the following year's election in which his Progressive Conservative opponent was future NHL agent Alan Eagleson. Kelly easily defeated Eagleson by 16,542 votes.
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 Red Ensign flag with the Maple Leaf.
Achievements and facts
- Named a First Team All-Star on defense in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1957.
- Named a Second Team All-Star on defense in 1950 and 1956.
- Named was engraved on the Stanley Cup in 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955 (with Detroit)
- Named was engraved on the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967 (with Toronto)
- His eight Stanley Cups are the most of any player who was never a member of the Montreal Canadiens, and he is the only player to be a member of dynasties from two different clubs.
- On 8 October 1953, playing for Detroit, Kelly scored the first NHL goal allowed by fellow future Hockey Hall of Fame member Johnny Bower, who was playing for the New York Rangers. In the 1960s, the two were key members of the Toronto Maple Leafs dynasty that won four Stanley Cups in six years.
- Kelly was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.
- In 1998, he was ranked number 22 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 greatest hockey players.
- In 2001, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
- Inducted to the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
- On 4 October 2006, he and his number were honored by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- In his later years, he was the owner of a bowling alley in Simcoe until the bowling alley burned to the ground.
- Currently 47th in all time games played and 96th in assists, as of the end of the 2008–09 NHL season.
- He is related to former NHL player Rob Blake, 3rd cousin once removed.
- On Saturday, 15 October 2016, Kelly's #4 jersey officially retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs
- In the fall of 2016, Red Kelly published his autobiography "The Red Kelly Story" by ECW Press with co-authors L. Waxy Gregoire and David M. Dupuis, both of Penetanguishene, Ont.
- In January, 2017, Kelly was part of the first group of players to be named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.
|1943–44||St. Michael's Midgets||Minor-ON||8||10||5||15||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1944–45||St. Michael's Buzzers||Big-10 Jr. B||11||15||13||28||7||11||16||8||24||6|
|1944–45||St. Michael's College Majors||OHA-Jr.||1||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1945–46||St. Michael's College Majors||OHA-Jr.||26||13||11||24||18||11||1||0||1||7|
|1946–47||St. Michael's College Majors||OHA-Jr.||30||8||24||32||11||9||3||3||6||9|
|1946–47||St. Michael's College Majors||M-Cup||—||—||—||—||—||9||5||5||10||2|
|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|
|Team||Year||Regular season||Post season|
|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|
- "Stanley Cup Dynasties". National Hockey League. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
- "100 Greatest NHL Players". NHL.com. January 1, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- Normandin, Pierre G. (1965). Canadian Parliamentary Guide.
- Bob Scott (7 June 1967). "Leafs Want Class For Kelly". The Montreal Gazette. p. 37. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- McFarlane, Brian. 50 Years of Hockey. Greywood Publishing Ltd.
- "History - Leonard Patrick "Red" Kelly". LAKings.com. Official website of the Los Angeles Kings. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Penguins Hire Red Kelly," St. Petersburg (FL) Times, Thursday, 3 July 1969.
- "Red Kelly named coach and G.M. for Pittsburgh," The Associated Press, Friday, 22 May 1970.
- "'Second Guessing Plague Of Coaching' Red Kelly," United Press International, Tuesday, 16 January 1973.
- "Kelly resigns from Penguins," United Press International, Sunday, 30 January 1972.
- "Penguins fired Kelly and hire Schinkel," The Associated Press, Sunday, 14 January 1973.
- "Maple Leafs Sign Kelly As Coach," The Associated Press, Tuesday, 21 August 1973.
- "Leafs employ 'pyramid power,'" The Associated Press, Saturday, 24 April 1976.
- The Sports Hall of Fame Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. 2011. p. 528. ISBN 9781461673705. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- Levy, Gary (1 June 1989). "Interview: Leonard (Red) Kelly". Canadian Parliamentary Review. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
- "Red Kelly". http://oshof.ca/. Retrieved 25 September 2014. External link in
- [Family genealogist]
- "Toronto Maple Leafs retire the numbers of 17 players". NHL.com. 15 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- "100 Greatest NHL Players". NHL.com. January 1, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Red Kelly.|
- Red Kelly – Parliament of Canada biography
- Red Kelly biography at Legends of Hockey
- Red Kelly career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
|Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
|Winner of the Norris Trophy
|Detroit Red Wings captain
|Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
|Head Coach of the Los Angeles Kings
|Head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
|Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
|General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins