Monday morning, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported that Hockey Hall of Famer and Detroit Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay passed away at the age of 93. Lindsay had been in hospice care and died overnight.
During his 17-year NHL career, Lindsay scored 851 points and won the Stanley Cup four times with the Detroit Red Wings. He also racked up 1,423 penalty minutes during his career with the Red Wings earning him the nickname “Terrible Ted”. He was the last surviving member of the famed “Production Line” with Sid Abel and right wing Gordie Howe.
Tributes to Lindsay are pouring in on social media. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was one of the first players to share his condolences before practice Monday.
“Obviously it’s hard news,” Ovechkin said to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. “He was a legend in the hockey world. Obviously, I was excited to meet him and I’m going to remember for all my life.”
Ovechkin won the Ted Lindsay Award three consecutive years from 2008-2010.
The award, formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award, is awarded annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the members of the NHL Players Association. The NHLPA re-named its MVP trophy after Lindsay in 2010. “I’ve never had a greater day in my life,” Lindsay, who helped formed the NHLPA in 1957, said then.
Nine months ago, Lindsay shared his glee that Ovechkin finally reached one of the biggest goals of his career. Lindsay spoke to NHL.com days after the Capitals dispatched the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one in the Stanley Cup Final.
“I’m honored that Alex has won the award three times,” Lindsay said. “And I’m happy that he’s finally won the Stanley Cup.
“Alex has earned the right to his fun,” Lindsay said of Ovechkin’s partying. “He’s just won the Stanley Cup and I think he realizes the meaning of that championship. He’s as good as anyone in the NHL today. Alex is an honest hockey player who gives you the same effort every night.”
Lindsay was known as one of the fiercest competitors in NHL history.
“Talent I lacked. Effort I had,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay led the league in goals in 1948 and won the Art Ross Trophy for the top point scorer in 1950. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. The Red Wings retired his jersey in 1991 and unveiled a statue in his honor in Joe Louis Arena in 2008. Lindsay was a key figure in establishing the original NHLPA and in 2010, the annual MVP Lester B. Pearson Award was reintroduced as the Ted Lindsay Award.
Once Lindsay retired, he created the Ted Lindsay Foundation, which “aims to raise money and funds to support research and educational programs, focusing on the cause and management of Autism”. The foundation has raised over $4 million, with only 13% allocated toward operating expenses.
In a statement posted on Monday, the NHLPA wrote, “The players and NHLPA staff are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ted Lindsay – a player, a trailblazer, and a gentleman. “Terrible Ted” was loved across the hockey world and beyond for his play, dedication to fellow players and charitable work.”
Ted Lindsay had many moments in his life that fans vividly remember, but for some people one of the greatest moments was the fact that he refused to attend his own 1966 Hall of Fame induction. At the time, wives/girlfriends/families were not invited. The rule changed in 1967. Lindsay told Dave Stubbs about the decision in 2016, “[Players] are wonderful people when we’re winning, but when we go home and we’re losing, we’re miserable for our wives and our children. My feeling was, families put up with us when we were temperamental idiots, they should be able to enjoy the benefits of what the league is giving us. That’s a very simple decision.”
Headline image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America
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