Apps became the first son of an NHL player who played in an All-Star Game to play in the game himself, though it was a year in the making. Syl Jr. was named to play in the 1974 classic but had to withdraw because of injury. The next year, he was named to the team again, and this time not only did he play, he scored two goals and was voted the games most valuable player. His father, the great "Slippery Syl" of the 1940s Maple Leafs, watched from the stands.
The New York Rangers had recruited him and convinced him to turn pro with their affiliate in Omaha, and he wound up playing half the 1970-71 season. He was traded to Pittsburgh with Sheldon Kannegiesser for Glen Sather, and it was with the Pens that he developed into a solid player. For four years he was on the Century Line with Jean Pronovost and Lowell MacDonald, and the three were one of the top-scoring lines in the league.
Apps's play led to an astounding contract offer--five years, almost $1 million--and in 1975-76 he had 32 goals and 99 points. Perhaps the only sore point of his time with the Penguins was a lack of playoff success, the team never making it past the second round. He retired in 1980.