October 14, 2019

Terrible Ted Green

Born on March 23, 1940 in Eriksdale, Manitoba, Ted played his junior hockey in St. Boniface Manitoba in the Montreal Canadiens junior system. He led the league in penalty minutes twice in his 3 full seasons in the MJHL, quickly developing a reputation as the baddest hockey player in all of Manitoba. However the Canadiens left Terrible Ted unprotected in the 1960 Intra League draft and he would join the Boston Bruins organization.

Green remained in Manitoba initially. He played two years with the Winnipeg Warriors of the WHL before the Bruins came calling for the 1961-62 season. The Bruins were looking for a rugged rearguard replacement for Fernie Flaman. Boston GM Lynn Patrick's search ended in his own system as Green quickly became a leader among the Bruins blue line corps.

Though he was brought in initially for his physicality and intimidation, Green developed into a good NHLer through sheer determination. A monster in his own zone, Green kept the other team honest. A hard hitting and willing fighter with a short fuse, Green became an integral part of the Bruins. An excellent shot blocker, Green saw time as a forward on penalty kills. His puck skills improved to the point where in 1969 he was named to the NHL Second All Star team when scored 8 goals and 46 points, a far cry from his 11 point rookie season.

Green opened the 1961-62 season in Boston and led the team with 116 PIM. He gained instant respect around the league that season, dropping the gloves with any and all comers, including a memorable fight with Frank Mahovlich in which Green broke his hand. Green playing hurt would quickly become a regular occurrence. Never a true offensive threat, Green developed into a decent d-man with the puck. He became very good at making the first pass to clear the zone, and his assist totals eventually reached the mid- 30s on a consistent basis. He scored a career high 8 goals on 2 occasions.

In September 1969, Green suffered one of the scariest injuries in NHL history in a stick swinging incident with Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues. It was an exhibition game in Ottawa and the two began swinging their sticks at each other as though they were Jedi Knights. The altercation ended when Maki clubbed Green on the head baseball swing style. That resulted in life threatening injuries to Green with three major operations were required to save his life. The left side of his body was paralyzed and it seemed obvious he would never play again.

Yet somehow Green made a miraculous comeback. Through courage and determination, Green returned to Bruins lineup in 1970-71 and savored the Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 1972.

Following the '72 championship, Green jumped at the big bucks being thrown his way by the WHA. He played the next three years with the nearby New England Whalers before finishing his career with seasons back in his home province with the Winnipeg Jets. Adding to his legend as a winner, Green was part of three Avco Cup championships, 1 in New England and 2 in Winnipeg.

Green was one of the toughest players ever in league history. He made the NHL in the magical days of the Original Six when jobs were scarce. He played 20 years in pro hockey and developed into an All Star and a Stanley Cup winner. Yet he his best known nearly dying on the ice.

"Today, years after the injury, people come up to me and say, "You're Ted Green? How's you're head?" That's all they seem to remember of a long career. So I find it hilarious sometimes"

Ted is able to laugh about the injury and never held a grudge against Maki, who died a few short years later of a brain tumor. Though his Bruin teammates vowed to get revenge against Maki, Green always tried to calm them down and helped to ensure nothing escalated in future matches with the Blues.

Green, who later went on to become a long time coach with the Edmonton Oilers, always joked that the injury actually led to his improved golf game because the weight of the steel plate in his head forces him to keep his head down. He also joked that he couldn't play golf in the rain because that steel plate made him a human lightning rod.

In 11 years in the NHL, "Terrible Ted" Green recorded 48 goals, 206 assists and 254 points in 620 regular season games. In 31 playoff games, he collected 4 goals and 8 assists for 12 points.

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