The Athletic’s Craig Custance authored a fine interview with Ted Lindsay this morning. Among the stories Lindsay shared with Custance is the tale of Lindsay’s contentious founding of a players’ association:
Aside from being one of the best left wingers to ever play the game, Lindsay put all his personal success and comfort on the line by organizing the first NHL players’ association in 1957, along with Bill Gadsby, Doug Harvey, Fern Flaman, Gus Mortson and Jim Thomson. He did it because he saw young players shipped out on a moment’s notice. He saw injured players discarded. He observed a former Maple Leafs star selling broken sticks for a quarter, in an attempt to squeeze out extra money. So he organized. And those efforts had massive repercussions.
From a pure hockey standpoint, it likely cost the Red Wings a few more Stanley Cups, because Lindsay was banished to the Blackhawks in a trade with fellow Hall of Famer Glenn Hall — an attempt by team management to cut off any union talk by removing Lindsay from the equation in Detroit.
From a personal standpoint, it cost Lindsay a relationship with Red Wings general manager Jack Adams and, on some level, Gordie Howe, whose support for the association efforts wasn’t on Lindsay’s level.
“Jack Adams was my Godfather,” said Lindsay’s son Blake Lindsay. “They still said, ‘Get rid of him. Chop the head of the snake off.’ Dad was the organizer. (Red Wings owner James) Norris had all the arenas, and Chicago back then was the worst team in the league. They sent dad there.”
Custance continues (paywall)…