With the Chicago Blackhawks on the big stage now, I thought it was appropriate to post this picture I have of Ted Lindsay that I had clipped, along with many others, from Star Weekly’s in the late 1950′s.
This is the guy every NHL player should thank, because he was one of the ones who organized the first player’s association and who faced the wrath of team tyrants like Conn Smythe and Jack Adams for doing so.
Lindsay was a star with the Detroit Red Wings, and for all his trouble of trying to make life better for the players, he and Jim Thomson in Toronto were banished to the lowly Chicago Black Hawks, who were perennial basement-dwellars back then. Lindsay and the others, including the great Doug Harvey in Montreal, had absolutely enraged most of the owners and general managers and these select few risked everything for every other player then and every player to come in the future.
Lindsay and these other guys are true hockey heroes, and he was one tough son of a bitch who caused Maurice Richard more grief than probably any other opponent. They hated each other, but in later years Lindsay admitted that he’d gotten to know the Rocket a little, really liked him, and wished they could have become better friends before Rocket passed away. (Howie Meeker told me just recently that he too hated the Rocket but came to like him after he got to know him.)
Only just recently the Lester B. Pearson Award, given to the league’s best player as voted on by other players, was changed to the Ted Lindsay Award. A fitting tribute to a man who has put a lot of dollars in every player’s pocket.