Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Wayne Connelly
Wayne Connelly began his major junior hockey career as a member of the OHA's Kitchener Canucks in 1955-56 at the age of 16, appearing in nine games. The following season he played for the Peterborough TPT's, dressing for 52 games, scoring 18 goals and 37 points.

Connelly began his pro career with the Montreal Royals of the EPHL, playing 64 games, scoring 28 goals and 49 points. Late in 1960-61, he dressed for three games for the Montreal Canadiens.

The 1961-62 season was Connelly's rookie year in the NHL, when he played in 61 games for the Boston Bruins, collecting 21 points. Connelly was inserted into the Bruins' lineup for about half the games in each of the next two seasons. For two years, he played exclusively in the WHL with the San Francisco Seals. In 1965-66, he put up strong offensive numbers, scoring 45 goals and 86 points in 72 games. It was that production which earned him another look from the Bruins, who elevated him to full-time status with the club in 1966-67. He had 13 goals and 30 points in 64 games.

With the advent of expansion, Connelly was selected by the Minnesota North Stars for the 1967-68 campaign. He had the distinction of being the first NHL player to have jumped to the new rival league. In 74 games, he scored an NHL career-high 35 goals and 56 points. Midway through the following season, Connelly was traded to the Detroit Red Wings where he played for a just over a year and had a career-high 59 points in 1969-70 before being dealt to the St. Louis Blues. He found himself on the move again early in the 1971-72 season, being sent to the Vancouver Canucks.

The arrival of the WHA gave options to many players such as Connelly, who opted to try his luck with the fledgling league, signing a lucrative contract with the Minnesota Fighting Saints, which was guaranteed through the first three years. Minnesota was also the offseason home for Connelly and his family. In his first season, he scored 40 goals and 70 points in 78 games, finding the wide-open style to his liking. In 193-74, he improved on those statistics, scoring 42 goals and 95 points. He once scored five goals in one game, which tied the league record. On that magical evening, Connelly provided all of Minnesota's scoring in a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Stingers. Connelly joined the Cleveland Crusaders in 1975-76. However, his tenure lasted just 12 games, before he was back in a Saints uniform for the final 59 games of the season.

Connelly's final WHA season was split between the Calgary Cowboys and the Edmonton Oilers. His biggest regret during his nine years in the NHL was not getting the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup. The closest chance came in 1968, when the North Stars lost a tough deciding seventh game in the semi-finals.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1955-56 New Hamburg Raiders OHA-B
1955-56 Kitchener Canucks OHA-Jr. 9 0 1 1 2 8 0 0 0 0
1956-57 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 52 19 7 26 83
1957-58 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 52 18 19 37 32 5 0 1 1 6
1958-59 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 54 36 54 90 46 19 6 13 19 38
1958-59 Peterborough Petes M-Cup 12 10 5 15 9
1959-60 Peterborough Petes OHA-Jr. 47 48 34 82 47 12 10 9 19 4
1959-60 Montreal Royals EPHL 8 6 4 10 4
1960-61 Montreal Canadiens NHL 3 0 0 0 0
1960-61 Montreal Royals EPHL 64 28 21 49 36
1961-62 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 7 2 3 5 4
1961-62 Boston Bruins NHL 61 8 12 20 34
1962-63 Boston Bruins NHL 18 2 6 8 2
1962-63 Kingston Frontenacs EPHL 34 10 24 34 19 5 1 4 5 2
1963-64 Boston Bruins NHL 26 2 3 5 12
1963-64 San Francisco Seals WHL 33 12 18 30 10 11 2 3 5 8
1964-65 San Francisco Seals WHL 70 36 36 72 51
1965-66 San Francisco Seals WHL 72 45 41 86 14 7 4 4 8 2
1966-67 Boston Bruins NHL 64 13 17 30 12
1967-68 Minnesota North Stars NHL 74 35 21 56 40 -32 14 8 3 11 2
1968-69 Minnesota North Stars NHL 55 14 16 30 11 -25
1968-69 Detroit Red Wings NHL 19 4 9 13 0 -7
1969-70 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 23 36 59 10 +27 4 1 3 4 2
1970-71 Detroit Red Wings NHL 51 8 13 21 12 -23
1970-71 St. Louis Blues NHL 28 5 16 21 9 -6 6 2 1 3 0
1971-72 St. Louis Blues NHL 15 5 5 10 2 -6
1971-72 Vancouver Canucks NHL 53 14 20 34 12 -15
1972-73 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 78 40 30 70 16 5 1 3 4 0
1973-74 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 78 42 53 95 16 11 6 7 13 4
1974-75 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 76 38 33 71 16 12 8 4 12 10
1975-76 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 59 24 23 47 19
1975-76 Cleveland Crusaders WHA 12 5 2 7 4 3 1 0 1 2
1976-77 Calgary Cowboys WHA 25 5 6 11 4
1976-77 Edmonton Oilers WHA 38 13 15 28 18 5 0 1 1 0
NHL Totals 543 133 174 307 156 24 11 7 18 4


OHA-Jr. First All-Star Team (1959)
OHA-Jr. - MVP (1960)
WHL Second All-Star Team (1965, 1966)
Traded to Boston by Montreal (Hull-Ottawa - EPHL) for the loan of Bob Armstrong and Dallas Smith and cash, October 26, 1961. Traded to San Francisco (WHL) by Boston for cash, June 6, 1964. Traded to Boston by San Francisco (WHL) for cash, June 14, 1966. Claimed by Minnesota from Boston in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Traded to Detroit by Minnesota for Danny Lawson and the rights to Brian Conacher, February 15, 1969. Traded to St. Louis by Detroit with Garry Unger for Red Berenson and Tim Ecclestone, February 6, 1971. Traded to NY Rangers by St. Louis with Gene Carr and Jim Lorentz for Andre Dupont, Jack Egers and Mike Murphy, November 15, 1971. Traded to Vancouver by NY Rangers with Dave Balon and Ron Stewart for Gary Doak and Jim Wiste, November 16, 1971. Selected by Minnesota (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972. Signed as a free agent by Cleveland (WHA) after Minnesota (WHA) franchise folded, March 10, 1976. Traded to New England (WHA) by Cleveland (WHA) for Fred O'Donnell and Bob McManama, June, 1976. Traded to Calgary (WHA) by New England (WHA) for cash, October, 1976. Traded to Edmonton (WHA) by Calgary (WHA) with Claude St. Sauveur for cash, January, 1977.
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