Multiple sources online are reporting that Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs legend Red Kelly has passed away this morning at the age of 91 in Toronto.
Kelly is a Hockey Hall of Fame member who finished his playing career with 281 goals, 542 assists and 1316 games played. A well acknowledged player in his day, Kelly won the inaugural Norris Trophy, the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly conduct on the ice four times, and eight Stanley Cups. He won his first four Stanley Cups in Detroit as a defenseman and his final four in Toronto as a center. He is also a 6-time First Team All-Star and two-time Second Team All-Star.
Kelly’s legacy stretches far beyond what one article can cover, because he really did it all. Kelly revolutionized the way the defensemen played the game for decades to come, he seamlessly switched to playing center, he was an NHL head coach, statesman, and most importantly, family man. Kelly was so beloved by both Toronto and Detroit that his number 4 is retired by both teams, the second jersey retirement coming earlier this year against the other team he played for, Toronto.
Kelly’s family released a statement to detroitredwings.com:
“Hockey legend Red Kelly passed away this morning in Toronto at the age of 91. Red was a devoted husband and caring father and grandfather and was tremendously proud of his many hockey accomplishments. He was very moved by decades of love and support from Red Wings fans and was humbled to have his jersey retired earlier this year. We are comforted in knowing that he impacted so many people both at and away from the rink and know that his life will be celebrated. Arrangements will be announced once they are finalized.”
Kelly’s loss is massive not just for the Red Wings and Maple Leafs’ communities, but for the NHL as a whole as one of the greats of the game has left us to go join in on the world’s greatest game of hockey.