from the HHOF,
Red Kelly was a unique player - versatile and talented enough to be one of the National Hockey League's best-ever defensemen early in his career and a high-scoring center at the end. The red-haired gentleman was cool and calculating on the ice and never swore, but there was no doubt about his ability to take care of himself. He had been a championship boxer at Toronto's St. Michael's College, skills the four-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy wouldn't often display during his 20-year NHL career.
Born in Simcoe, Ontario, in 1927, Kelly was 20 years old when the Detroit Red Wings brought him up to the big league directly from St. Michael's. A solid but mobile and skilled defenseman, he quickly found a home on the team playing with such superstars as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel. Kelly was an effective checker, at home on the blue line or on the left wing, where he was sometimes used due either to injuries or to add a little muscle on the offense.
Kelly earned enough All-Star votes in 1950 to win a spot on the NHL's Second Team and the chance to play in the All-Star Game. The Red Wings, well on their way to being the league's dominant team, won the Stanley Cup that year, as they would in three of the next five seasons. And Kelly was an integral part of Detroit's winning formula. His puck-carrying ability allowed the Wings to move from their own zone quickly and provided them with a quick transition game.
Watch the Legends of Hockey feature on Red Kelly below...