Long before Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy began making headlines, another Ted Kennedy was already famous.
Ted “Teeder” Kennedy led the Toronto Maple Leafs to five Stanley Cups in a Hall of Fame career that stretched from 1942 to 1957. Kennedy, who won the NHL’s most valuable player award in 1955, died on Aug. 14, at age 83.
Kennedy, a center born in Port Colborne, Ontario, captained Toronto from 1948 to 1955 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.
Kennedy was the embodiment of an era when hockey players were expected to give all they had to the team without concern for the size of their paycheck or endorsement opportunities, according to a story in The Toronto Glove and Mail.
“He was a great guy and an absolutely great leader,” said Howie Meeker, who played on the wing beside Kennedy in the late 1940s. “He was tough as nails and there’s never been a harder worker in every game. Maybe Wayne Gretzky might come close.
“You would be ashamed if you didn’t go out and work as hard as he did. He was never I or me, it was always we or us.”
Kennedy wasn’t the most skilled player but he was the smartest, which along with his work ethic made him the best player, according to The Globe and Mail.
In 1998, Kennedy he was ranked No. 57 on The Hockey News’ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.