As a junior with the St. Catharines Teepees of the OHA, Red Sullivan had a handy touch around the net and played the game with a great sense of enthusiasm and commitment. As property of the Boston Bruins, the spirited centreman was ushered into the pro ranks with the Hershey Bears in 1949-50. Along the way, he managed to take a quick swig of life with the Bruins before heading back to his home in the AHL.
It wasn't until 1951-52 that Sullivan finally got a full-time job in Boston. But over the season and a half that followed, he failed to make a significant impression with the club's brass. By 1953, he was back in Hershey where he remained until the Chicago Blackhawks secured his rights in 1954.
In the Windy City, Sullivan began to hit full stride with his knack for setting up goals, showing leadership, providing tenacious forechecking and an ability to needle his opponents with a truculent flair. He gave fans their money's worth for two seasons before being traded to the New York Rangers in 1956.
In the Big Apple, Sullivan picked up right where he left off in Chicago. He made a habit of stirring up trouble, especially against the Canadiens. He often took runs at goaltender Jacques Plante. Habs' defenseman Doug Harvey warned the abrasive Ranger centreman to lay off. When Sullivan failed to comply, Harvey speared him in the stomach with his stick and ruptured his spleen. A Catholic priest was called in to deliver Sullivan's last rights, but Sullivan survived and eventually resumed his duties as a Ranger.
In 1957-58, he was appointed the team's captaincy, a post he held until his demotion to the minors in 1961. At that time, he joined the Kitchener Beavers of the EPHL and then the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL where he hung up his blades in 1963.