Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay dies at 93

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Red Wings legend and Hockey Hall of Famer, Ted Lindsay, has died at the age of 93. 

Lindsay, known as "Terrible Ted," scored more than 800 points during his incredible 17-year career and won the Stanley Cup four times. He was also the first player to ever lift the cup over his head and take a victory lap, starting a tradition that continues to this day. Lindsay died overnight while in hospice care.

Off the ice, Lindsay was a pioneer in the formation of the National Hockey League Players' Association, which was instrumental in raising player salaries. He also started the Ted Lindsay Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars for autism research. 

His number "7" currently hangs in the rafters of Little Caesars Arena, 1 of only 8 Red Wings to earn that honor.   

"Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay passed away peacefully this morning at his home in Oakland, Mich. He was 93 years old. Ted was a persistent, courageous and determined man both on and off the ice. He was a man of many firsts. We are comforted in knowing that the Ted Lindsay legacy will forever be a part of history and are so proud of the many lives he helped change for the better through his tireless humanitarian work. Arrangements will be announced when they are finalized," a statement from the Lindsay family reads. 

"Ted Lindsay to me, you know, so much respect. I have the utmost respect for Ted Lindsay and everything he's done for the Red Wings and the game of hockey." That's quite an understatement from former Red Wings forward Chris Draper because Ted Lindsay's impact on the game was massive. 

Born in Renfro, Ontario in July of 1925, Robert Blake Theodore Lindsay was introduced to hockey at a young age thanks to his father, Burt, who became a professional goalie after three years at McGill University.

"On those clear, cold nights we could get WJR in Detroit. This is going back to the late '30's, and they had a couple of defensemen, Jack Stewart and Jimmy Orlando," Lindsay told us. "And they were rough, tough, sock-em and that was my kind of hockey. And so I kind of became a Detroit fan at that time." 

Lindsay, who after a tryout with Detroit, made his transiition from the OHL to the NHL in 1944. And at 19 years old Lindsay set a tone - most notably by making enemies. 

The first was Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe himself, who didn't appreciate lindsay going from amateur life in Toronto to Leafs' arch rival Detroit. And lindsay didn't stop there, earning the nickname "Terrible Ted", who's rough style led to the NHL developing penalties for elbowing and kneeing opponents. 

But with the bad there was plenty of good, most notably teaming up with center Sid Able and right winger Gordie Howe on the production line. The group helped Lindsay to the 1950 Art Ross trophy as the NHL's leading scorer and led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships.

Did you know that Terrible Ted was the first player to take the cup and skate around the rink with it? The reason why - so fans at the rink's edge could see it. Lindsay's personal touches made special memories for the players. 

"Today wouldn't be today without people like Howe and Lindsay and Delvecchio and all those guys, and Gadsby and Johnny Wilson, going way back. There's a progression here. There's a culture here. It was started by those guys way back when," said Mickey Redmond, fellow Red Wings legend. 

"Just a real class act guy. He was a legendary player and makes himself accessible to each and every young player that comes in and he epitomizes what the Red Wings are. That's what Ted Lindsay does," said Chris Osgood.

Lindsay was also a catalyst for the start of players union, which forced the league to improve player conditions. It was an upgrade that continue to be felt throughout the league. 

Lindsay retired after the 1964-65 season, but he did not sit still. In 1966 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1972 Lindsay was a part of the NHL's national broadcasts as a color analyst. And in 1977 lindsay was named Red Wings general manager. 

In November of 1991 the Red Wings retired Lindsay's number 7 and Alex Delvecchio's number 10 together. And in 2008 the team commissioned an original statute of Lindsay for the Joe Louis Arena concourse. 

"I remember seeing him and Gordie come into the lockerroom and a lot of times they'd come in just before playoffs. You knew how much playoff hockey meant to Ted Lindsay and how competitive, and the fire he had. So I just remember the first time I met both Gordie and Ted, you know, getting on the phone to call my dad and say, you know, you'll never guess who was in the locker room today down at Joe Louis Arena," Draper said. 

"You know, him and Gordie and Alex - special, special people to be around everyday and Mr. Lindsay's the type of man that makes you want to be a better man. And he's just a special guy," said Mike Babcock, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"He's never changed from day one. That's what I've always found is unique about the Red Wings. I come into this building as a kid, you walk in one day and see Gordie Howe, you talk to Gordie Howe, and the next day you walk in you see Ted Lindsay. You know, Alex Delvecchio keeps a very low profile around the city, but occassionally you see Alex. You know, it just goes on and on with some of the older guys. Those are unique to playing in the original six cities," said Red Wings Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman. 

However, the biggest honor came from players when the NHL Player's Association renamed the Lester B. Pearson award the Ted Lindsay award back in 2010. It's Given to the league's most outstanding player.

It was a fitting honor for Terrible Ted who may be gone - but who can never be forgotten.