Strange But True: “On Trial”

Leonard Patrick “Red” Kelly, who played in the National Hockey League from the 1940s into the 1960s, was one of hockey’s greatest stars. He was also the victim of one of the funniest practical jokes in all of sports.

Red was involved in a minor automobile accident. It wasn’t a serious case, but he still had to go to court. Several of his Detroit Red Wings teammates, including Jack Stewart, accompanied him. Stewart volunteered to act as Red’s lawyer.

Red should have known something was wrong when Stewart insisted that the jury be made up of 12 old ladies. Then, when the judge entered, Stewart began to “defend” his client by telling enough lies to send the bewildered Kelly to prison for the rest of his life. The judge listened with a frown on his face.

Finally Red caught on. The Red Wings players had framed the whole thing and the judge was in on it.

Red’s “fine” was two goals, which he was ordered to score as soon as possible.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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  1. He was also a member of Parliament while he was playing for the Leafs and it seems he caught some heat from team owner Conn Smythe because Kelly supported replacing the Red Ensign flag with the maple leaf used today.

  2. i always feel like i should comment on these….but i know very little about sports that dont involve engines
    (not even football…you know…the one mostly played by kicking the ball…unless you’re maradonna…tho i used to play that…so at least i know the rules)

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