“Terrible” Ted Green
Guest article by Hockeygrampy
It’s funny how you look back at days gone by, especially when they are from so many years ago! Growing up as a kid attending various Bruins games with my family offers only small glimpses of those days. But now that I am older, some of those glimpses into the past become a bit clearer somehow.
How quickly one becomes steadfast on the memories of the greatest players you so fondly remember as a kid! Of course, Bobby Orr is the standout in my mind, often recalling the great moments so clearly imbedded in my memory. The visions of him screaming up the ice with blistering speed and oftentimes ending in a give-and-go Bruins score! It’ll be something I will never forget!
Then there are the days of the “Espo Line” featuring the great Phil Esposito, along with line mates Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman! Man, could Esposito deposit those pucks behind goalies! He “lived” out in front of the crease just waiting for the centering pass! How those days have passed! In today’s game, a defenseman would be all over him!
But going way back, even before the great Bobby Orr’s years, I have great memories of Ted Green! Ted was born up in Manitoba and played at an early age in the Montreal Canadiens’ junior hockey system. History tells us that he led those early hockey years in penalty minutes, quickly becoming one of the meanest defenseman in the league.
But for some reason, the Canadiens didn’t act on his development and they left him virtually unprotected in the draft in 1960. However, he remained in the area playing a couple of years for the WHL as the Bruins watched his development. Luckily, the Bruins paid him a visit just before the 1961-62 hockey season. It seemed that the Bruins needed some physical presence back in Boston and Ted was brought up from the minors to fill that void.
Obviously, Ted was recruited for his intimidation factor and for his physical presence. But he quickly developed into a solid defensive player and began to exercise his strength and stamina and quickly earned the name, “Terrible” Ted Green!
There was no one Ted wouldn’t stand up to and no limit to the amount of pain he would endure. In his first full season with the bruins, he once dropped his gloves with the mighty Canadiens‘, Frank Mahovlich and broke his hand in the battle!
But that injury was nothing compared to what was soon to come. In 1969, Ted endured one of the most horrifying injuries I had ever seen! During an exhibition game in Ottawa, he and St Louis Blues player, Wayne Maki, got into a stick-swinging incident (something you never want to see in an NHL hockey game). Of course, there was no such thing as helmets back in those days!
The fight ended when Maki slammed his stick to the side of Ted Green’s head! Ted slumped to the ice like a rag doll! His skull was fractured, and there were three ensuing operations that were needed in order to save his life! This left the entire left side of his body paralyzed and it was obvious to me (and the hockey world) that we would never see him on the ice again.
But Teddy made a miraculous recovery and after a number of years, returned to the Bruins line-up to play on the Boston Garden ice once again. The strength, stamina and courage to make such a recovery were an inspiration to everyone! Despite one side of his face still “droopy” from the paralysis, Ted was soon up to his old self, running offensive players into the boards!
Oddly enough, just a few years after this terrible life-threatening fight, Wayne Maki died of a brain tumor!
While this frightening incident in 1969 was the single most remembered and serious incident I could recall happening to Ted Green, I had a surprising incident sometime later on that I will remember forever.
Following a Bruins game one day, we set to return home per usual. We had stopped along the way for a bite to eat, but continued towards home shortly thereafter. We pulled off old route #1 in Saugus, MA (about 8 miles north of Boston) and came to a merge point and a “Stop” sign, pulling up behind a rather large vehicle in front of us. He began to move out into traffic and I began to do the same, but glanced to the left to make sure it was still clear. Unknowingly, the car in front of us suddenly stopped and, bang, I ran into his bumper!
Knowing that we were okay, I jumped out of the car to see if the driver of the car in front of us was alright and to check for any damage. His front door opened and out stepped “Terrible” Ted Green! I couldn’t believe my eyes! We had just seen him play a game in Boston and now a few hours later and a few miles north of Boston, I had run into his car on the way home! I was so embarrassed! I was also just dumbfounded!
After a few moments of chit-chat and making sure we didn’t need to “exchange papers” (for insurance purposes), Ted gave me a big grin, shook my hand and drove away!
Thankfully, no one was injured and there was no damage from the minor impact! But this just added another chapter to my historic Bruins story!
In any event, Ted went on to play a couple more years of hockey with the Bruins. But he was tempted by all the money the newly-formed World Hockey Association was paying NHL players. So, after enjoying the Bruins’ 1972 Stanley Cup championship, he moved to the New England Whalers for a few years, and then ended his playing career in the mid-70s with the Winnipeg Jets.
Ted Green’s entry into the NHL was celebrated with his Topps rookie (1961-62 Topps #2). While this card is pretty rare, his best-known card might also be his most cherished after being selected as a second team all-star for the 1968-69 campaign.
“Terrible” Ted Green was certainly not a prolific scorer. In fact, he scored only 48 goals in his entire NHL career (plus another 4 goals and 8 assists in playoff games). But you’d have to dig deep in the archives to come up with a more courageous athlete, in any sport! He was big, he was bruising, he was feared…and yes, he was “Terrible”!
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