Red Storey was an active child athlete who excelled in a variety of sports. In Storey's case, though, his cross-training came in handy. He played baseball, football, lacrosse and hockey in his youth, but it was in football that he excelled. Just 18, he turned pro with the Toronto Argonauts, winning the Grey Cup in 1937 and '38. In the 1938 game, Storey produced one of the greatest performances in the history of Canadian football, coming off the bench in the final quarter to score three touchdowns and scamper 102 yards to set up a fourth in a 30-7 come-from-behind win over Winnipeg.
Storey had been scouted by the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, but all thoughts football came to an end in 1941 when he suffered a knee injury that ended his playing days. He continued to play some lacrosse and baseball, but hockey captured his heart. In 1942-43, he played for the Montreal Royals, but also began a career as a football official, a position he maintained until 1957.
Storey's love for officiating turned from the field to the rink. He refereed the 1950 Allan Cup Final between the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Marlboros in Calgary. Toronto defeated the hometown club 4-1 to win the 42nd Allan Cup Championship. Prior to the start of the series, Red and his partner in the two-referee system, Ernie Mundey, were invited to go horseback riding at a ranch in Calgary. A sudden movement startled Ernie's horse and he bolted and before they could get it under control, Ernie had ripped his groin. He could barely walk let alone skate. Red told him to stay at his blue line and just call the offsides. Red called everything else for the entire five-game series.
In that same year, Storey was hired by the NHL. He quickly became regarded as one of the game's finest, a colourful but fair adjudicator of the world's fastest sport who was liked by the players but who, in turn, believed him to be extremely fair. He spent nine years in the NHL. In his first year (1950-51), Storey served as a linesman for 20 games and a referee for 29 games. He refereed 30 playoff games plus 14 Stanley Cup Final games for a total of 545 games officiated in the NHL. He was also chosen to work three All-Star Games.
Storey's career ended on April 8, 1959. In a Montreal-Chicago playoff game in Chicago, the hostile crowd threw debris of all sorts onto the ice in disgust over what fans felt were a string of important non-calls of Canadiens' infractions. The next day, NHL president Clarence Campbell stated that Storey had "choked." Storey was stunned by the criticism. He resigned the next day over what he thought was a lack of backing by the NHL president.
Although Storey never returned to the game as a referee, despite pleas from Conn Smythe, among others, he remained active in hockey for many years, doing radio and TV work, playing old-timers games and providing light-hearted commentary on games and players. Storey once said, "Most NHL teams now play religious hockey. They shoot the puck in and then hope and pray they will get it back."
Red Storey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967 and the into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1991 before passing away on March 15, 2006 at the age of 88.