NHL legend and former Chicago Blackhawk Ted Lindsay passed away Monday at the age of 93. We remember his legacy as a superstar and labor leader for NHL players.
Ted Lindsay’s lasting mark on the NHL is unquantifiable. The Hall of Famer played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1943 to 1957 before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. He played in Chicago for 3 years before his retirement in 1960 and returned to Detroit in 1964 for one final season.
As a player, Ted Lindsay was known as “Terrible Ted” after his extraordinarily physical style of play. Lindsay wasn’t known as a great fighter, but when Terrible Ted was tangled with an opponent bigger, heavier blows landed, and blood flowed. Whoever dared to square up with the winger almost always left injured.
Early in his career, Lindsay would pummel the other team with his knees and elbows. The NHL was quick to create “Rule 51” which outlines the severity of penalties related to roughing. This became known as the “Lindsay Rule.”
Lindsay broke the professional hockey player mold before anyone knew one existed. He was an unflinching defender of his teammates and was always quick to backtalk his coach Jack Adams.
Clarence Campbell, then the President of the NHL, levied a $300 fine and three-game unpaid suspension to both Lindsay and Boston aggressor Bill Ezinicki after a particularly brutal quarrel. Jack Adams argued the penalty on behalf of Lindsay to get the fee down to $100, which Adams quietly paid for Ted.
Clarence Campbell personified class, dignity, and leadership. The Rhodes Scholar and lieutenant colonel of the Canadian Army made hockey his life’s work upon returning from World War II. The culture he envisioned for the NHL didn’t include personalities like Lindsay’s.
Ted Lindsay was the personification of everything Campbell loathed. Disrespect, cockiness, brash and loud. He also knew the player wasn’t intimidated with threats of suspensions or fines.