Peterborough, Ontario's George "Red" Sullivan played in 557 NHL games with Boston, Chicago and mostly the New York Rangers. He scored 107 goals and 346 points. He never won the Stanley Cup as a player, but the Stanley Cup ring he earned as scout for the 1972 Bruins was his most cherished possession.
"There is no feeling like it. Being part of that Bruins team really filled a void that I had as a player, never winning a Stanley Cup. There really is no words to explain how I felt when won the Stanley Cup," he told The Hockey News
Described as a "spirited centerman with a handy touch around the net," Sullivan liked the stir things up. He was known to run at goaltenders, with Jacques Plante being his favorite target.
He was also a man known to have a lot of fun.
"The most fun I had was playing in New York. I was a night person and New York had lots of action at night. And I liked the action. I was known as a guy who would break a few curfews now and then. But I always made sure I was ready to play the next game we had to play."
Sullivan didn't have too much fun the night Doug Harvey speared him.
"We were playing against the Montreal Canadiens and Doug Harvey, a man who I still like and have a great deal of respect for, speared me. I suffered an injury to my spleen," Sullivan explained.
"It was one of those situations where Harvey was paying me back for something I had done to him the night before. On this particular occasion, I had given it to him the night before when I kicked the skates right out from under him during a game. That's something you don't do. So I knew I was going to get it the next night. I just didn't expect to be speared, which is something you don't do either."
Sullivan understates the severity of the injury.
"It didn't end my career that night. But I think it had something to do with the fact that I retired a short time thereafter.
He did not mention that a Catholic priest was brought in to read him his last rights. Mind you, that may just be a legend nowadays.
Sullivan was an offensive star in junior and the AHL, serving as more of a set-up man than a shooter. He became more of a role player and penalty killer in the NHL, but still made solid offensive contributions. In his best season, 1958-59, he scored 21 goals and 63 points, second most on the Rangers behind Andy Bathgate.
Sullivan was also a leader, serving as team captain of the Rangers in the latter years of his career. He went to coach the Rangers, the Penguins and Capitals and was a long time scout.