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Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Name behind the Ted Lindsay Award

By Sarah Goldstein

At just 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, Ted Lindsay made an indelible mark on the NHL both on and off the ice.

He was born in Renfrew, Ontario, in 1925, and his father, Bert, was a goalie on the Renfrew Millionaires.

Ted Lindsay became a star in minor hockey and went on to play junior hockey in Toronto. While he was with the St. Michael's College junior team and the Oshawa Generals, Lindsay's play got noticed by the Detroit Red Wings, and he was invited to their training camp and offered a two-year deal with a no-minor-league clause.

"Terrible Ted" soon established himself as a mean competitor, spending more time than anyone in the penalty box, but was equally recognized for his offensive skill.

Playing alongside Gordie Howe and Sid Abel, "The Production Line" dominated the NHL. In addition to scoring goals, Lindsay helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1952, 1954 and 1955.

In 1957, Lindsay was having one of his best seasons, but bigger issues became more important. With NHL stars Doug Harvey, Gus Mortson, Bill Gadsby and Jim Thomson, Lindsay helped form the NHL Players' Association to ensure the league dealt fairly with players on issues such as the pension fund, covering expenses after trades and minimum salaries for first-year players.

This did not help his already stilted relationship with Red Wings GM Jack Adams, who traded Lindsay to the Blackhawks as punishment.

Lindsay played in Chicago for three seasons and helped the Blackhawks return to respectability after years of struggling. He retired in 1960 after playing 999 NHL games.

Lindsay created a life for himself after hockey in Detroit. He even worked out with the Red Wings occasionally.

But in 1964, Abel, who was then the coach and GM of the Wings, gave Lindsay a chance to make a comeback. Lindsay accepted, and the Red Wings finished first in the league for the first time since Lindsay's departure. He retired again after the season.

Lindsay was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966, but he did not attend the ceremony because only men were allowed. One year later, the banquet became open to both sexes.

In 1977, Lindsay became the general manager of the Wings. Although he was tough to get along with and battled with Alan Eagleson of the NHLPA, Lindsay helped the Red Wings rebound and earned several executive of the year awards.

Today, Ted Lindsay's name is on the trophy awarded to the most outstanding player in the league as voted by members of the NHL Players' Association.

Information from the Hockey Hall of Fame was included in this report.