Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Ernie Wakely
At the rather advanced age of 28 Wakely had just one NHL game under his belt, that coming with the Montreal Canadiens. The 1969-70 season provided the breakthrough Wakely needed. He appeared in 30 games for the St. Louis Blues, registering a 2.11 GAA and four shutouts. He once said, "You can't judge a player until you've given him a chance to play in the big league." It was also a pressure-packed situation, having to take over from the legendary Glenn Hall. But Wakely made the most of his opportunity, helping lead the Blues to the Stanley Cup finals, where they were defeated in four straight games by Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins.

Building upon his first-year success, Wakely backstopped the Blues to 20 victories the following season, starting 51 games in goal for St. Louis. By now, he had earned the reputation as being a solid NHL calibre goaltender, which was noticed not only by those in the NHL, but also scouts for the fledgling World Hockey Association. The Winnipeg Jets, already in prized possession of the Golden Jet Bobby Hull, made an offer that Wakely could not refuse. It was also an opportunity to play professional hockey in his home province. For the next two years Wakely tended goal for the Jets before moving on to the San Diego Mariners six games into the 1974-75 WHA campaign. After a brief six-game stint with the Cincinnati Stingers in 1977-78, Wakely packed his bags for Houston where he finished out the season with the Aeros.

In 1978, Wakely went to the Birmingham Bulls in what would be his final professional season and also the swan song for the WHA. Just four teams would be absorbed into the NHL. Wakely realized that at the age of 39, the chances of his landing a job were slim at best, so he decided to call it a career.

Wakely was also a member of the fabled Houston Apollos team that played in the Central League in the 1960s. Among other future NHL goalies who played there were Tony Esposito, Phil Myre, Gerry Desjardins, and Rogatien Vachon.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1957-58 Winnipeg Braves MJHL 27 12 14 1 1 4.48 5 2 3 0 0 4.00
1958-59 Winnipeg Braves MJHL 30 22 7 1 1 3.54 8 7 1 0 1 2.69
1958-59 Winnipeg Braves M-Cup 16 12 4 0 1 2.81
1959-60 Winnipeg Braves MJHL 27 15 11 1 1 3.62 4 1 3 0 0 3.60
1959-60 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 4 1 3 0 0 4.00
1960-61 Winnipeg Braves MJHL 31 18 13 0 2 3.57 3 0 3 0 0 4.00
1960-61 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 9 4 5 0 0 4.77
1961-62 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 2 1 0 1 0 2.00
1961-62 Kingston Frontenacs EPHL 3 2 1 0 0 3.33
1961-62 North Bay Trappers EPHL 6 1 4 1 0 3.00
1962-63 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 1 0 0 0 3.00
1962-63 Hull-Ottawa Canadiens EPHL 41 26 12 3 2 2.97
1962-63 Spokane Comets WHL 3 1 2 0 0 5.33
1963-64 Quebec Aces AHL 8 3 5 0 0 4.12
1963-64 Omaha Knights CPHL 59 38 16 5 2 2.93 10 8 2 0 3 1.90
1964-65 Omaha Knights CPHL 15 11 3 1 0 2.67
1964-65 Cleveland Barons AHL 10 2 8 0 0 4.90
1964-65 Quebec Aces AHL 20 9 10 1 1 3.76 4 1 3 0 0 4.25
1964-65 Montreal Canadiens NHL
1965-66 Cleveland Barons AHL 1 0 0 0 0 3.00
1965-66 Quebec Aces AHL 1 0 1 0 0 6.00
1965-66 Seattle Totems WHL 27 12 14 1 2 3.08
1966-67 Cleveland Barons AHL 70 36 25 9 0 3.10 5 2 3 0 0 1.99
1967-68 Houston Apollos CPHL 57 24 21 10 1 2.95
1967-68 Montreal Canadiens NHL
1968-69 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 0 1 0 0 4.00
1968-69 Cleveland Barons AHL 65 25 28 11 1 3.27 5 2 3 0 0 3.95
1969-70 St. Louis Blues NHL 30 12 9 4 4 2.11 4 0 4 0 4.72
1970-71 St. Louis Blues NHL 51 20 14 11 3 2.79 3 2 1 1 2.33
1971-72 St. Louis Blues NHL 30 8 18 2 1 3.42 3 0 1 0 6.90
1972-73 Winnipeg Jets WHA 49 26 19 3 2 3.16 7 4 3 0 2 3.14
1973-74 Winnipeg Jets WHA 37 15 18 4 3 3.27
1974-75 Winnipeg Jets WHA 6 3 3 0 1 2.70
1974-75 San Diego Mariners WHA 35 20 12 2 2 3.35 10 4 6 0 0 4.50
1975-76 San Diego Mariners WHA 67 35 27 4 3 3.26 11 5 6 0 0 3.66
1976-77 San Diego Mariners WHA 46 22 18 3 3 3.09 3 2 1 0 0 3.38
1977-78 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 6 0 5 0 0 5.02
1977-78 Houston Aeros WHA 51 28 18 4 2 3.24
1978-79 Birmingham Bulls WHA 37 15 17 1 0 3.76
1978-79 Phoenix Roadrunners PHL 1 1 0 0 0 4.00
NHL Totals 113 41 42 17 8 2.78 10 2 6 1 4.36


CPHL - fewest goals against (1964)
CPHL Second All-Star Team (1968)
AHL Second All-Star Team (1969)
WHA Second All-Star Team (1978) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1971) Traded to St. Louis by Montreal for Norm Beaudin and Bobby Schmautz, June 27, 1969. Selected by Winnipeg (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972. Traded to San Diego (WHA) by Winnipeg (WHA) for cash and future considerations, January, 1975. Claimed by Cincinnati (WHA) from San Diego (WHA) in WHA Dispersal Auction, August, 1977. Traded to Houston (WHA) by Cincinnati (WHA) for cash, November, 1977. Signed as a free agent by Birmingham (WHA) after Houston (WHA) franchise folded, July 6, 1978.