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Ted Lindsay, Hero of Hockey
Kelley King
February 28, 2000
March 18, 1957
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February 28, 2000

Ted Lindsay, Hero Of Hockey

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March 18, 1957

Three weeks ago Ted Lindsay went home again. The Ontario native packed up his stick, his skates and his wife, Joanne, and drove from Rochester Hills, Mich., to Toronto for All-Star weekend. Half a century ago in that city, Lindsay, then a fiery, 22-year-old Detroit Red Wing, played in the first NHL All-Star Game. This year, as a still fiery 74-year-old businessman and grandfather of six, he was the only original All-Star to skate in the Heroes of Hockey game. After his team of past NHL greats lost 6-1 to a team of Maple Leafs legends, Lindsay blamed one man. "If I could have gotten that damned puck up six more inches," he says, recalling a shot stopped by goalie Allan Bester, "I would have turned the game around."

Lindsay's contempt for failure was the driving force behind his 17-year NHL career as a left wing for Detroit and the Chicago Blackhawks While his 379 regular-season goals and four Stanley Cups earned him instant induction into the Hall of Fame after his retirement in 1966, Terrible Ted was memorable as much for his style as for his numbers. Evidence of his kamikaze approach is visible in the scars that run across his face like a power-play pass pattern. "If you got me dirty, I got you twice as dirty," says Lindsay, who at 5'8" and 160 pounds, resembled someone's maddening little brother on the ice. "There was never anyone who liked to win more than I did."

Indeed, Lindsay created the tradition of the Stanley Cup victory lap. When Detroit's famed Production Line of Lindsay, Gordie Howe and the late Sid Abel powered the Wings past the New York Rangers for the 1950 Stanley Cup, Lindsay grabbed the trophy, hoisted it above his head and paraded it around the rink.

Lindsay has long demonstrated a cool head for business. In 1956, realizing that hockey players needed a collective voice for contract negotiations, Lindsay proposed a players' association, but team owners would squelch that idea until 1967. In 1955, Lindsay and Detroit teammate Marty Pavelich had ensured their post-NHL financial security by starting a company that represents auto-parts manufacturers. While Pavelich, now retired, spends his days fishing and skiing in Big Sky, Mont., Lindsay still wakes at 5:00 a.m., exercises for an hour and goes to his office. From there it's just a 45-minute drive to Joe Louis Arena, where, during Red Wings games, he can be found cheering and hollering from his seat. "I buy my own season tickets," says Lindsay. "That team doesn't owe me anything."