As a junior skater with the Victoria Cougars of the WHL, Ken Priestlay had big-league potential stamped right on the shaft of his stick. And although he was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1985, he remained with the Cougars for parts of two more campaigns where he just kept getting better and better. In 1985-86, he finished the season with 145 points in 72 games.
The junior scoring ace turned pro with the Sabres in 1986-87. The moved marked the beginning of an on again-off again relationship with the NHL. In his first 34 games as a Sabre, he scored moderately well and avoided becoming a defensive liability. But nonetheless, he found himself in Rochester of the AHL to start the next campaign. The bounce between the two leagues became the norm for Priestlay's uneven career as an NHLer.
By 1990, he grew tired of the cycle and decided to join the Canadian National team where, like his junior days, he got plenty of ice time and had fire in his stick. And while away from the NHL, his rights were traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the Pens, Priestlay gave his sputtering big-league career one last crack. He performed as a defensive specialist for 49 games during the 1991-92 campaign before heading to the minors with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, Cleveland Lumberjacks, and Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL
In 1994, the strong skating centreman took his game to England to play for Sheffield. There he put five successful seasons as the kind of scoring ace he was accustomed to being as an amateur and in the minors. He retired from hockey at the close of the 1998-99 season.