Mickey Redmond received a steady infusion of hockey culture from the moment he was born two days after Christmas in 1947. His father, Eddie, was a big, raw-boned redhead who, at one time, played semi-pro with Jean Beliveau and the Quebec Aces among a host of clubs from across North America.
Young Mickey joined his younger brother, Dick, on regular excursions to the local rinks. By age 14, Redmond's family had moved to Peterborough, Ontario, where Mickey joined the local Junior A Petes of the OHA for four seasons. He was a league all-star during two of those campaigns, having made a clear statement of his scoring prowess.
In 1967, he attended training camp with the Montreal Canadiens?a club replete with top-flight players. Cracking the lineup was a great feat and afforded Redmond the opportunity to work as an understudy to Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, and J.C. Trembley.
Redmond got in on two Stanley Cup victories with the Canadiens before being traded to the Red Wings as part of a package to bring Frank Mahovlich over to Montreal in 1971. In Detroit, Redmond was slowed by injuries in the early going, but quickly bounced back to catch fire. In his second season with the club, he became the first Red Wings in team history to top the 50-goal mark in a single season. And to make sure it wasn't just a dream, he went out and netted another 51 goals the following year.
But his quick rise to the top was followed by an equally fast decline, starting from the moment he felt the first tinge of pain at the base of his back. He played through the intermittent pain for several seasons, until the problem became unbearable. Upon having his back examined it was determined that he'd suffered permanent damage to a nerve running directly to his right leg. The pain grew so severe that he had difficulty walking.
An operation aimed at repairing the damage was unsuccessful, forcing Redmond to retire prematurely at the age of 29 in 1976. Since leaving hockey, he has been a colour analyst for Hockey Night In Canada and for Detroit Red Wing broadcasts.