Red Wings legend Red Kelly dies at 91

Detroit recently retired Kelly's No. 4

Red Kelly talks to his wife Andra during a ceremony to retire his No. 4 prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena on February 01, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings legend Red Kelly died Thursday morning in Toronto at age 91, the team announced.

The Red Wings released this statement from the Kelly family:

"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."

Former Detroit Red Wing Red Kelly's No. 4 heads to the rafters after being retired prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena on February 01, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Red Wings retired Kelly's No. 4 earlier this year during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is the 8th official jersey number to be retired by the Red Wings.

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

The 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.

Red Kelly speaks to the media during Salute to Stanley Cup Legends at the Renaissance Center, as the NHL honors members of the Detroit Red Wings dynasty that won four Stanley Cups in a six-year stretch from 1950 to 1955.May 25, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

About the Author:

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