Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Dark Day for Teeder

Ted Kennedy pictured April 13, 1968

In looking up some information on Leafs great Ted Kennedy, I came across a Canadian Press newspaper story about an incident I had never heard of that happened in November 1949. It seems there was very little written about what happened, and even a google search now turns up only the American Senator of the same name and his famous car accident. The story is as follows, with quotations taken directly from the Canadian Press story.

According to Ontario Provincial Police it was snowing and visibility was only 50 feet. Toronto Maple Leaf captain Ted "Teeder" Kennedy was driving west along Eglinton Avenue from his home in Whitby, Ontario to Maple Leaf Gardens for a Saturday night game. Along with him was his wife who stated later that the driving conditions at the time were "wretched with snow coming from all directions".

It was Saturday, November 19, 1949 and Kennedy was the 24-year old captain of the three-time Stanley Cup defending Leafs. He was on his way to the rink for a home game against the visiting Red Wings when tragedy struck.

Kennedy, travelling at less than 20 miles per hour "swung out from behind a truck" and saw two boys walking along the highway less than 20 feet away. The captain slammed on the breaks but "slid right into them". The two boys, 10-year old Robert Armstrong and 13-year old Harold Shepherd were both wards of the Children's Society of Ontario. Kennedy took the boys to the hospital  in his car but the Armstrong boy was dead on arrival, Shepherd suffered two broken legs and would spend almost five months in the hospital.
Neither Kennedy or his wife were injured, although he would miss the game that evening.

The investigating officer, Provincial Constable E. Hardy said no charges would be laid but an inquest would be held. Kennedy would return to the Leaf lineup four days later, scoring a goal against the Canadiens. The Children's Aid Society, on behalf of Harold Shepherd ended up suing Kennedy and over a year after the accident damages were awarded. A jury decided upon damages of $3,088.25 of which Kennedy was required to pay half as Shepherd was found 50 percent responsible.

Kennedy would end up missing another dozen games in the 1949/50 season due to knee injury incurred on a "solid check from Leo Reise". Kennedy would finish second in Hart Trophy voting that year and was selected as a Second Team All-Star. Although they failed to win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup, they would regain it in 1950/51.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...