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First-Ever LA Kings Head Coach Passes Away at 91

Hockey Hall of Famer and eight-time Stanley Cup Champion Red Kelly led Kings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the franchise's inaugural season

by LA Kings @LAKings /

The LA Kings, along with the entire hockey community, mourn the loss of Hockey Hall of Famer and eight-time Stanley Cup Champion Red Kelly, who passed away earlier today at the age of 91. 

"The LA Kings send our deepest condolences to the entire Kelly family," Kings President and Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille said.

Kelly was integral in Kings history, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the franchise's inaugural season.

"Mr. Kelly enjoyed an incredible Hall of Fame career as a player before embarking on a coaching career that included helping lay the foundation of the Kings," Robitaille said.

Video: Hall of Famer Red Kelly passes away at age 91

Kelly's list of accolades are long; he was the inaugural winner of the Norris Trophy, won four Stanley Cups as a defenseman, four more as a forward, and won the Lady Byng Trophy four times.

He was truly a legend in every sense of the word. And because of that, he is one of the few players in NHL history whose number has been retired by two teams. 

Kelly finished his NHL career with 823 points (281 goals, 542 assists) in 1,316 regular-season games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969 and named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017, the same year he returned to Los Angeles for the NHL All-Star Game. 

"Coach Kelly carried himself with a great deal of dignity and he respected everyone around him, and it was our tremendous honor and pleasure to help host he and his wife, Andra, in 2017 when they came back to Los Angeles as the Kings hosted the NHL All-Star Game," Robitaille said. 

Video: Red Kelly won Cup four times each with Wings, Leafs

Ted Irvine, who had a nice visit with Kelly last year in Toronto, also had fond memories of his former coach.

"He was our first coach in LA and I found him to be all class. Never swore, but when he yelled at us, he said 'Son of a Sea Cookin' Bottle Washer!' He was a true Hall of Famer." 

We've never heard Son of a Sea Cookin Bottle Washer before, but we might have to add it to our vocabulary.

Video: Interview - Kings' first head coach Red Kelly

"Red Kelly, an eight-time Stanley Cup winner, gave Los Angeles an identity and credibility as an NHL franchise," Kings TV and Radio Announcer and Hockey Hall of Fame Honoree Jiggs McDonald said.

"He worked tirelessly to mold his players into a competitive team and give Kings fans something to cheer for every night."

"Red was a gentleman always; may he rest in peace."

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