Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Kelly spent 13 seasons with the Red Wings and had his jersey retired this year.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
May 02, 2019

Red Wings legend Leonard "Red" Kelly died on Thursday morning at the age of 91, the team announced in a news release.

Kelly spent 13 seasons with the Red Wings, compiling 472 points from 1947-60. He won eight Stanley Cup championships during his 20-year career and hoisted four trophies with the Red Wings before winning another four with the Toronto Maple Leafs. His eight championships are more than any player in NHL history who did not play for the Montreal Canadiens.

"Red Kelly was one of the most accomplished players in the history of the Detroit Red Wings, a tremendously impactful figure to the game of hockey, and a wonderful person and family man," Red Wings Governor, President and CEO Christopher Ilitch said. "I would like to extend our most sincere condolences, on behalf of Marian Ilitch and the entire Red Wings family, to his wife, Andra, and all of his family and friends. 

"Red was a true hockey legend and had the remarkable distinction of being considered one of the best at his position as both a defenseman and a forward during his career," Illitch added. "His on-ice achievements speak for themselves, between eight Stanley Cup championships and his collection of league awards and honors. Beyond that, he was a gracious and humble person, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him."

During his career, Kelly scored at least ten goals in nine consecutive seasons and was an NHL First-Team or Second-Team All-Star from 1949-50 through 1956-57. In 1954, he was the first recipient of the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's best defenseman.

Kelly retired in 1967 at 40 years old. He finished his NHL career with 823 points (281 goals, 542 assists) in 1,316 regular-season games and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969. Kelly was also named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players list in 2017.

On Feb. 1, Kelly became just the eighth player to have his jersey retired by the Red Wings when his No. 4 sweater was raised to the rafter before the game against Toronto.

"The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Leonard ‘Red’ Kelly – a man whose hockey career is so storied and distinguished that it may never be duplicated," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "For all of his professional success, Red often said the greatest joys in his life came from his family – especially his wife, Andra, who was his lifelong partner. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Kelly family, as the hockey world mourns the loss of one of the greatest players and men that the game has ever known.”

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