Ted Green was, by far, the most popular Bruin in the mid-sixties. He was a tough guy on a perenially lousy team, a guy so rugged that the GM of the Rangers (a team almost as lousy as the 60s Bruins) put out a bounty on him. After an excellent season in 68-69, Green sat out all of the cup-winning 69-70 season after being belted in the head by a Wayne Maki stick. When the cup was won on that steaming afternoon of May 10, 1970, those of us in the Garden chanted Green's name as Bucyk paraded the cup around the ice. Green came back in 70-71 and stayed with the Bs for another year before heading to the WHA, but he was never the same player.
He was never the same after Wayne Maki split his skull open in a stick fight during a preseason exhibition game in 1969. The only sad memory I have of the Bruins' winning the Cup on the following May 10 was seeing Ted shuffle onto the ice to join the celebration. He had missed the entire season, of course--at this point it was uncertain whether he'd ever play again at all--and had been unable to contribute to the historic championship. He was dressed in street clothes and he was crying.
When he finally returned to the ice the following season he was still goofy-eyed from brain damage and totally ineffective at first, but he eventually regained enough skills to become a serviceable defenseman.
I remember that well. Wearing his pink jacket lol. Ted Green played in a very tough league. The Bruins did not roll as many defenseman back in 1969 which was my first year of fandom. You had Orr and Dallas Smith, and Rick Smith with Ted Green then Don Awrey. The fifth guy rotated in. Derek Sanderson credited Green for getting him through his first season alive.
I’ve mentioned before that I read Derek Sanderson’s first autobiography when I was a kid- he talks a lot about Green and the Wayne Maki incident. Everyone loved Green and was real shook by the incident and the length and severity of the recovery.
I remember seeing Green play for the New England Whalers during their sole season in the old Boston Garden. He got the biggest ovation among all the players. Green would go on to win the first of his four Avco Cup trophies that season, the Whalers only championship before they moved to Carolina (the final 3 were when he was with the Winnipeg Jets). I never did get to see him in his prime.
Given the seriousness of his injuries as a young man, 79 years is a pretty good run. Great speech. Thanks Scotian for posting it.
They almost never broadcast pre-season games back then but they did do this one. Supposedly the incident video was destroyed because it was so gruesome. I remember when he came back. It was very touching to see the crowd respond.
Despite the preseason injury and missing the entire year, the Bruins did see to it Green's name was engraved on the Stanley Cup for the '69-'70 championship. I always thought that was a cool gesture.
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