DETROIT – When it comes to sibling rivalries, the Redmond brothers are no exception.
Growing up in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Mickey and Dick Redmond both had an affinity for the game of hockey. But throughout their junior and professional careers, the two brothers faced off against each other more than they ever played with each other, which more often than not resulted in a competitive sibling rivalry.
“We played a lot of road hockey and those stories are unending,” Mickey said. “I mean he broke a couple of brooms over my head in road hockey in the RHL, we used to call it, in Peterborough. We go way back with the rivalry but we played against each other.
“One year we actually played together on the Peterborough Petes, the Junior A team and that was fun. He was 18 months younger than me and it was always great because he was a good hockey player, Dick. It was always fun whether playing with him or playing against him.”
The rivalry extended far past the junior league, as the brothers lined up against each other multiple times during the seven-year span that overlapped their respective NHL careers.
To say there was never a dull moment with two Redmonds on the ice would be an understatement.
“There was a time when my brother was with Minnesota and I was with Montreal and the referee put us both in the penalty box for roughing and stuff like that and my brother, as was his way, got chippy and mouthy, and he got an extra two minutes,” Mickey said. “So after my penalty was over, I came on the ice, took a pass, went in and scored a goal. It ended up being the winning goal and as I came back toward the penalty box, I of course gave him the fist and how do you do one-up and neither one of us forget that one, forever.”
Another matchup between the brothers occurred on a milestone day for Detroit, as a meeting between Mickey’s Wings and Dick’s Blackhawks in Chicago on March 23, 1975 marked the visiting team’s 3,000th game in franchise history. The younger Redmond recorded one assist in the 4-4 tie between the two Original Six teams.
Detroit will reach another milestone this Saturday, as the franchise celebrates its 6,000th regular-season game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. As Mickey reflected on his playing career and the milestones the club has reached over the past 88 years, he felt honored to have been part of Hockeytown’s historic tradition.
“I’ve always felt it was a great privilege for me not only to be an NHL player but a great opportunity to play in two of the Original Sixes and then of course my post-playing career here with the Red Wings for the last 35 years,” Mickey said. “If you’re going to be in the hockey business it doesn’t get any better than Detroit. They care about the game, they have an opinion about the game and we like that. It’s a great place to be in the hockey business and with the Red Wing tradition, it’s as good as it gets. The good news is there’s only six of us, they can’t make any more.”
While Mickey participated in one of Detroit’s milestone games, he watched the next two from the broadcast booth: No. 4,000, a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Dec. 26, 1987, and No. 5,000, a 5-4 overtime victory against Buffalo on Oct. 21, 2000.
The former Wings forward will watch No. 6,000 in Tampa Bay, nearly four decades after facing his brother in Chicago, a game that will serve as a midway point between the franchise’s first and 6,000th games.
Thirty-nine years and three thousand games later, the sport has evolved in ways that Mickey may not be fond of, but he’s still able to find greatness in.
“It’s a faster game, sometimes I think way too fast for a lot of players who play it,” Mickey said. “We have a high speed game, a track meet, sometimes with not a lot going on. But it is what it is and young people seem to be embracing the game as it is so we accept it and there’s still a lot of great in the game of hockey. Always has been and always will be.
“As my dad taught me a long time ago, some days you gotta look harder for the greatness in the game but it’s always there. Turn over a few more stones and you’ll find it.”
Many stones have been turned, many stars have blossomed, and many banners and Stanley Cups were raised high for all of Hockeytown’s faithful to see through nearly nine decades of the franchise’s history. It’s a rare accomplishment that not every hockey organization and fan is fortunate to be part of, and one that should be cherished and celebrated for many more years to come.
“For somebody who’s played at this level, the greatest game in the world at the highest level in the world, it’s a very special thing,” Mickey said of the franchise’s 6,000th game. “We’re all honored to be able to do it, privileged to be able to do it and proud that we were able to do it as we like to think it’s a tough, the NHL is tough to make, but it’s tougher to stay.”
GREAT GADSBY: Hall of Famer Bill Gadsby is the only player to have participated in two of the Red Wings’ millennial games. The defenseman competed against the Red Wings in their 1,000th franchise game as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, and wore the Winged Wheel in game No. 2000, scoring a goal with assists going that went to Gordie Howe and Howie Young in the first period of Detroit’s 6-4 loss to the Rangers at Olympia Stadium.
DOUBLE FUN: A pair of former Wings once participated in two millennial games – once as players and then as coaches. Sid Abel played in the franchise’s 1,000th game, and was the head coach of Detroit at the time of game No. 2,000. Alex Delvecchio also accomplished this feat, as the former forward scored two goals in the Wings’ 2,000th game and was at the bench boss during game No. 3,000.
HISTORY LESSON: Here are small capsules chronically each of the Red Wings’ first five millennia:
GAME No. 1,000 – March 2, 1947
(Detroit 3 at Chicago 1)
In front of 17,548 fans at Chicago Stadium, the Red Wings scored in each period on goals by Gerry Couture, Pat Lundy and Jim Conacher (PPG). Goalie Harry Lumley made 24 saves to help the Red Wings improve to an 18-24-10 record. Forward Bill Mosienko scored the Black Hawks’ lone goal at 19:06 of the first period.
First 1,000 Games
Goals For: 2,609
Goals Against: 2,527
GAME No. 2,000 – Dec. 25, 1961
(New York Rangers 6 at Detroit 4)
Trailing 3-2 in the second period, the Blueshirts scored three consecutive goals to ruin Christmas Day for the Olympia Stadium crowd. Defensemen Doug Harvey (two goals) and Larry Cahan led the Rangers who were held to 21 shots on goal. The Red Wings were led by Alex Delvecchio (two goals) and Gordie Howe (three assists). Forward Vic Stasiuk and defenseman Bill Gadsby also scored for Detroit.
Second 1,000 Games
Goals For: 2,898
Goals Against: 2,398
GAME No. 3,000 – March 23, 1975
(Detroit 4 at Chicago 4)
The Red Wings appeared to have control of the game when Marcel Dionne scored an unassisted, shorthanded goal at 15:08 of the third period to put Detroit up 4-3 at Chicago Stadium. Unfortunately, just over a minute later, Chicago defenseman Dale Tallon scored on Wings goalie Bill McKenzie with the final goal of the game. Dionne scored twice and center Bill McKechnie and forward Nick Libett added goals for the Red Wings, who finished in fourth place in the Norris Division.
Third 1,000 Games
Goals For: 3,103
Goals Against: 3,241
GAME No. 4,000 – Dec. 26, 1987
(Detroit 3 at Pittsburgh 6)
Petr Klima scored at 2:46 of the second periods, pulling the Red Wings even with the Penguins in front of 16,168 fans at the Pittsburgh Civic Center. But a 22-year-old Mario Lemieux picked up his third point – and his lone goal of the game – at 8:18 of the middle frame, jump starting the Penguins who scored three straight goals en route their only regular-season win over the Red Wings. The power-play goal was Lemieux’s 31st goal of a 70-goal season. Steve Yzerman collected his 25th goal of the season, scoring at 10:54 of the first period on assists by defensemen Doug Halward and Darren Veitch.
Fourth 1,000 Games
Goals For: 3,261
Goals Against: 4,028
GAME No. 5,000 – Oct. 21, 2000
(Buffalo 4 at Detroit 5, OT)
Without Steve Yzerman, who missed the start of the 2000-01 season with an injury, the Red Wings improved to 4-3-0 when Brendan Shanahan scored a power-play goal on future teammate Dominik Hasek at 4:27 of overtime. Pat Verbeek scored two goals and Doug Brown and Martin Lapointe also scored, and Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov had two assists each. Goalie Manny Legace made 29 saves in the Wings’ first OT win of the season before 19,995 fans at Joe Louis Arena.
Fifth 1,000 Games
Goals For: 3,347
Goals Against: 2,703
Bill Roose contributed to this story