Hall of Famer
Inducted in 2002
Played in eleven straight All-Star Games
Won Art Ross Trophy
Won four Stanley Cups in six years
Tried to form union of NHL players
Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame
Ted Lindsay took on all comers, on and off the ice. It is for this reason that today he is considered not just the finest left winger of all time but one of hockey's greatest men. By the time Lindsay had retired as a player in 1965, he was both the all-time points leader and penalty minutes leader for his position, but it was his efforts to form a union among NHL players that was perhaps his greatest achievement of all. Lindsay was a small man, but what he lacked in size he made up for in intensity and instinct. He joined Detroit in the NHL in 1944 and soon was playing alongside another youngster, Gordie Howe, and a wily veteran, Sid Abel. Together, this trio formed the Production Line, the highest-scoring, most exciting line of the post-war NHL. Lindsay led the league in goals in '47-'48 with 33, and in 1949-50, the three placed 1-2-3 in points, Lindsay at the top with 78, the one time he won the Art Ross Trophy. He also led the NHL in assists that year with 55. It was thanks to this threesome that the Red Wings finished first overall a record seven straight seasons and won four Stanley Cups in six years (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955). As much as he was a scorer, though, Lindsay was a survivor. He would fight anyone, anytime, sometimes even climbing the fence to get at a fan in the stands to protect himself or a teammate. In all, he had eleven seasons of 20 goals or more, and four of those he had at least 30. He played in eleven straight All-Star Games (1947-57) and was the first player to score a hat trick in an All-Star Game. By the time he retired, he had played 1,068 games and had 851 points and a staggering 1,808 penalty minutes. His greatest fight, though, was with the six men who controlled the NHL, the men in charge of the Original Six teams. In the mid-1950s, Lindsay secretly met with his most venomous opponent, Toronto defenceman Jim Thomson, to try to organize the players into a union, a symbolic message by both players to their colleagues that enemies on ice should bond off ice to unionize. Once his bosses found out, Lindsay was traded to lowly Chicago where he played for three years in obscurity. He then retired but three years later returned to play a final season with Detroit. Two years after he retired for good, the NHL's players hired a lawyer, Alan Eagleson, and did, indeed, form a union. It was a move that changed the league forever, and one that could not have come about without Lindsay's initial efforts.