Red Wings to retire Red Kelly's No. 4 ahead of Maple Leafs game tonight

Here's a brief history lesson

Leonard "Red" Kelly spent several seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings first acquired Leonard "Red" Kelly in 1947. 

The native of Simcoe, Ontario got passed up by the Toronto Maple Leafs, so instead he spent the next 13 years playing defence for the Red Wings, putting up big points from the blueline (54 points in 70 games in 1950-51) and winning Stanley Cups. 

Kelly was a major part of four Stanley Cup championships with Detroit -- 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955. 

What came next for Kelly is the stuff legends are made of. Ontario's son returned in 1959 to play for the Maple Leafs, as a centerman. He put up 70 points in 1960-61, the first of three consecutive 20-goal seasons. He helped the Leafs win the Stanley Cup four times -- 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967. 

Kelly owns a special piece of hockey trivia -- he is the only player to win the Cup eight times without playing for the Montreal Canadiens. Overall, Kelly amassed 823 points in 1,316 NHL games played. Perhaps even more impressive were his playoff numbers -- 92 points in 164 games. 

Kelly was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for "most gentlemanly player" four times. He also won the James Norris Trophy for best defenseman in 1953-54, the first time it was awarded. A Red Wings player wouldn't be awarded the Trophy again until Paul Coffey in 1994-95. 

He went on to coach for 10 seasons (1967-1977) in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Maple Leafs, but never reached the same success he did as a player. 

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969. 

His No. 4 will become the 8th official jersey number to be retired by the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit Little Caesars Arena. 

The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. The game is set to start at 7:30 p.m. The arena will open at 5:30 p.m. 


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.