Netminder Rick Knickle had all but given up on a chance to play on the NHL when he was summoned to the NHL as an injury replacement by the Los Angeles Kings in 1992-93. Through the majority of his career he was an excellent netminder in junior and in the minor pros in a career that lasted two decades.
The native of New Brunswick played junior with the powerful Brandon Wheat Kings in the late 1970s. In 1978-79 he posted a remarkable 26-3-8 record and helped the team come within one overtime goal of the Memorial Cup title. Following the season he was voted on to the WHL first all-star team and was chosen 116th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the first NHL Entry Draft. He started the next year in junior but eventually went to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the IHL for 16 games.
Between 1980 and 1993 Knickle guarded the cage for eight different IHL franchises, three AHL clubs, and one EHL team. He won at least 20 games five times, led the IHL in goals against average twice and did the same once in the EHL. The L.A. Kings came calling in 1992-93 when Kelly Hrudey was injured. Knickle looked solid while playing ten games that year and four the next.
Following his brief Cinderella-story appearance in the NHL, Knickle went back to the IHL to play for four different teams to bring his career total in that league to twelve. In 1994-95 he posted a 2.95 goal -against average for the Detroit Vipers and led the "I" in shutouts. He retired in 1997 after playing 19 games with the Milwaukee Admirals.