The hockey world is in mourning to start the week, as Detroit Red Wings icon Ted Lindsay has passed away. Lindsay was one of the league’s earliest superstars, but was perhaps even more important to the game off the ice as a labor leader for players. He was 93.
Born in Ontario in 1925, Lindsay entered the NHL as a teenager in 1944 and made an immediate impact on the Red Wings. Despite his small frame, the 5’8″ 163-lbs forward was determined and feisty, never backing away from a physical challenge and earning the nickname “Terrible Ted.” Eventually he joined Sid Abel and Gordie Howe to form the “Production Line” that dominated the league for several seasons. Lindsay would win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer in 1950, and was named a league All-Star nine times. On four occasions he would lift the Stanley Cup over his head with the Red Wings, a key member in each championship team. He finished his career with 851 points in 1,068 games to go along with 1,808 penalty minutes.
Lindsay was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player in 1966, but he could have very well made it as a builder as well. He was instrumental in the forming of the NHLPA to help players secure higher wages and working rights, changing the game entirely and starting it on the road to the business it is today. He also worked as a broadcaster and front office executive for many years, and saw his number retired by the Red Wings. In 2017 he was named one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players.
There’s little doubt that Lindsay’s impact on the game was greater than almost anyone else’s, and he will be sorely missed in Detroit and all across the league. When the Stanley Cup is raised this year and the captain of the winning team skates it around the rink, many will remember that Lindsay was the first to do so—just one of the many moments his influence will be felt for years to come.