LAS VEGAS -- Ted Lindsay, the Hockey Hall of Famer who died March 4 at the age of 93, was celebrated with a tribute at the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone on Wednesday.
The Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players' Association, was won by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. The award was presented by Lindsay's daughter, Lynn, who was joined onstage by actor Taylor Kinney and Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHLPA executive director Don Fehr. Before the presentation of the award, a 90-second video detailing Lindsay's career and off-ice contributions played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center sports and entertainment complex.
The Detroit Red Wings legend remains a beloved figure. He moved from a career of mayhem on the ice to a life's work of benevolence, his foundation having raised millions of dollars for autism research and care. He last attended the awards in June 2017, about a month shy of his 92nd birthday, on hand for an eighth consecutive year to present the award that bears his name. Lindsay didn't make the trip last year, with fragile health and the prospect of a long flight keeping him home in Michigan.
[RELATED: Kucherov of Lightning wins Ted Lindsay Award]
He sat over breakfast here with NHL.com in 2017, joking that he didn't want to know the winner of his award before presenting it, lest he let it slip.
"When I open the envelope, I'm as surprised as whoever wins it," Lindsay said that morning, unaware that in a few hours at T-Mobile Arena he would present the award to Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, joined onstage by Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier. "I don't need to know, because I might divulge it accidentally.
"I'm honored to have my name on a trophy to the game I loved and still love, and will do anything for, if I can, in the twilight years of my life. As long as I can keep in good health, I'll do whatever I can and stay involved however I can. Hockey is the greatest game in the world, bar none. You don't hide when you get on the ice. You can't hide. You either show that you've got something, or you don't have anything."
Video: Nikita Kucherov wins the Ted Lindsay Award
The Ted Lindsay Award was introduced in 1971, then known as the Lester B. Pearson Award, named for the former prime minister of Canada. Its name was changed in 2010 to honor Lindsay, a ferocious player on the ice and an influential champion of players' rights off it. He was a driving force in the founding of the NHLPA in 1967.
The NHLPA moved quickly upon Lindsay's death to celebrate his life and accomplishments. First, it collaborated with the NHL to have "TED 7" signs placed on the boards at all 31 NHL rinks. Then, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs approached, NHLPA graphic designer Rob Grier created a No. 7 lapel pin bearing Lindsay's signature. It was distributed to players to wear as they wished on their suits as a sign of appreciation for Lindsay, a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings and the 1949-50 Art Ross Trophy winner as the NHL's scoring leader.
On Jan. 1, 2017, Lindsay was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players, an honor that profoundly moved him.