Defenceman Rick Lanz was an imposing combination of size and skill. He was a fine skater and puck handler whose booming shot from the point made him particularly lethal on the power play.
Born in Karlouy Vary, Czechoslovakia, Lanz came to Canada with his family as a boy. He was selected seventh overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1980 Entry Draft after three outstanding seasons with the OHA's Oshawa Generals. The skilled youngster was also picked to represent Canada at the 1980 World Junior Championships.
Lanz was impressive as a rookie in 1980-81 with 29 points in 76 games and a plus/minus rating of +1. The next year he played only 39 games because of injuries and missed the club's run to the Stanley Cup finals. In 1982-83, Lanz rebounded with 48 points and played for Canada at the 1983 World Championships. During the 1983-84 season, the gifted blueliner recorded 57 points and was one of the top power play quarterbacks in the league with 14 goals while playing with the extra man. He remained a fixture in the Vancouver line up until the club started making changes in 1986-87.
In December 1986, Lanz joined the Toronto Maple Leafs and helped the club come within a game of reaching the semi-finals. He also scored a key overtime goal that evened the first round series against the St. Louis Blues. Toronto regressed in the late '80s, and Lanz left the club in 1989 to play for Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland. He played one game for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1991-92 but was chiefly a minor leaguer until retiring in 1993.