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."
February 28, 2000
Lindsay created a tradition by hoisting the Stanley Cup over his
head and parading it around the rink.