Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Bill Hicke
Bill Hicke was a compact, fleet-footed skater who, as a junior with the Regina Pats, could put the puck in the net in a big way. After four seasons of scoring glory as an amateur, he turned pro in the Canadiens' organization with the Rochester Americans in 1958-59. It was there that he won the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award as the league's top rookie.

Misfortune, however, awaited Hicke, at the Montreal Forum. Rocket Richard had just retired in 1960, leaving a large hole in the club's roster and in the hearts of fans who ached for a replacement. Bill Hicke, the junior "phenom," received billing as the antidote.

Naturally there was little Hicke could do to fulfill such expectations. He simply took advantage of the limited ice time he could steal away. During his six and a half seasons with the club, he did manage to score a modestly respectable number of points each year. But by 1964, his usefulness to the club had worn thin. As a frequent guest on the bench, he requested a trade and had his wish fulfilled almost immediately with a ticket to New York.

His arrival in the Big Apple was not very auspicious, however. While on a golf outing during training camp, Hicke got chilled in the damp, cool weather. Afterwards he began to feel ill. The first wave of medical treatment he received missed the mark. Soon afterwards, he fell into a coma for two weeks. After returning to consciousness, he emerged with a sizeable list of allergies including bronchial asthma -- a condition that would raise its restrictive head from time to time to limit his career prospects.

All told, he lasted just over two seasons with the Rangers. He was pleased to find out that the Oakland Seals had claimed his rights in the Expansion Draft of 1967. Hicke never liked the city of New York and was glad to move on after putting mediocre results onto the score sheet. In Oakland, he got plenty of ice time and an opportunity to net his best offensive numbers. The price, however, was to struggle with an inept team at the bottom of the league's standings.

To say that Hicke was dying with the Seals was something to be taken as literally true. While gliding through a particularly tough skating drill for coach Bert Olmstead, Hicke went to the bench for a rest. Olmstead told him to hit the ice again. Hicke explained that he wasn't feeling well. His coach didn't believe him and insisted that he get a move on. He did and, within minutes, collapsed to the ice. Nearly dead, he was rushed to the hospital for a two-week stay.

Hicke managed to recover and lasted with the Seals until 1971. He then joined the Pittsburgh Penguins for 12 games before descending to the minors. The following year he gave his career one more try with the Alberta Oilers of the WHA. But his asthmatic condition continued to impinge on his ability to play. As a result he retired in 1973.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1954-55 Regina Pats SJHL 8 3 9 12 7 14 6 8 14 4
1954-55 Regina Pats M-Cup 15 5 13 18 8
1955-56 Regina Pats SJHL 36 33 9 42 51 10 6 8 14 10
1955-56 Regina Pats M-Cup 19 11 18 29 44
1956-57 Regina Pats SJHL 53 52 48 100 94 7 5 5 10 14
1957-58 Regina Pats SJHL 49 54 43 97 144 12 9 10 19 20
1957-58 Regina Pats M-Cup 16 18 8 26 31
1958-59 Rochester Americans AHL 69 41 56 97 41 5 1 1 2 12
1958-59 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1959-60 Montreal Canadiens NHL 43 3 10 13 17 7 1 2 3 0
1959-60 Rochester Americans AHL 14 8 5 13 22
1960-61 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 18 27 45 31 5 2 0 2 19
1961-62 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 20 31 51 42 6 0 2 2 14
1962-63 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 17 22 39 39 5 0 0 0 0
1963-64 Montreal Canadiens NHL 48 11 9 20 41 7 0 2 2 2
1964-65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 17 0 1 1 6
1964-65 Cleveland Barons AHL 6 3 2 5 2
1964-65 New York Rangers NHL 40 6 11 17 26
1965-66 New York Rangers NHL 49 9 18 27 21
1965-66 Minnesota Rangers CPHL 3 2 0 2 4
1966-67 New York Rangers NHL 48 3 4 7 11
1966-67 Baltimore Clippers AHL 18 14 14 28 15 9 6 8 14 23
1967-68 Oakland Seals NHL 52 21 19 40 32 -22
1968-69 Oakland Seals NHL 67 25 36 61 68 -11 7 0 3 3 4
1969-70 Oakland Seals NHL 69 15 29 44 14 -10 4 0 1 1 2
1970-71 California Seals NHL 74 18 17 35 41 -29
1971-72 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 12 2 0 2 6 -6
1971-72 Tidewater Red Wings AHL 16 4 2 6 6
1971-72 Fort Worth Wings CHL 34 9 10 19 51 7 0 5 5 12
1972-73 Alberta Oilers WHA 73 14 24 38 20
NHL Totals 729 168 234 402 395 42 3 10 13 41


Brother of Ernie
AHL First All-Star Team (1959)
Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award (AHL - Rookie of the Year) (1959)
John B. Sollenberger Trophy (AHL - Leading Scorer) (1959)
Les Cunningham Award (AHL - MVP) (1959) (co-winner - Rudy Migay) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1959, 1960, 1969)
Traded to NY Rangers by Montreal with the loan of Jean-Guy Morissette for remainder of 1964-65 season for Dick Duff and Dave McComb, December 22, 1964. Claimed by California (Oakland) from NY Rangers in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Traded to Pittsburgh by California for cash, September 7, 1971. Traded to Detroit by Pittsburgh for cash, November 22, 1971. Signed as a free agent by Alberta (WHA), September, 1972.
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