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Hockey Legend "Red" Kelly
by John Cardiff

Leonard "Red" Kelly was born 9 Jul 1927 in Simcoe, Ontario, and raised on a farm between Simcoe and Port Dover. He joined the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings at the age of 19.

"'Gentleman Red" was a four time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy. He played on eight Stanley Cup champion teams, was named to eight All-Star teams, and won many other professional honors, including the first Norris trophy.

In the late 1950s Red and his brother Joe (himself once a promising hockey star) opened Red Kelly Bowling Lanes just south of Simcoe, on the site of the current White Horse Plaza.

The day the Lanes opened set a record for the number of NHL stars in Simcoe for a single event, a small indication of Red's popularly with his fellow players. A year or two later, when the Lanes were short pinboys one afternoon Red and I set up pins together. A quiet, soft-spoken man, Red never let celebrity go to his head.

While playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Red was a Member of Canada's federal Parliament, 1962-1965.

He retired from playing with the Maple Leafs in 1967 to coach NHL teams in Los Angles and Pittsburgh before returning to Toronto to coach the Maple Leafs between 1973 and 1977.

Today Red and his wife, U.S. world skating champion Andrea McLaughlin, make their home in Toronto.

Red has returned to Simcoe many times over the years, most recently attending his 2000 induction into the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition; participating in Rob Blake's 14 Jul 2001 Parade of Stanley Cup Champions; and celebrating Red Kelly Day in Jun 2002 in Port Dover.