November 26, 2015

Pat Hickey

Pat Hickey was drafted by the New York Rangers in the second round of the 1973 Amateur Draft. But he was also drafted by the Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association that same summer. Pat decided to start his professional career by joining the WHA.

A big part of Pat's decision to play in the WHA was the opportunity to play regularly against names like Bobby Hull, Derek Sanderson and Bernie Parent. He also played with Frank Mahovlich and Paul Henderson. Talk about about great tutors! Hickey received lots of ice time with the Toros. Had he signed with the NHL's Rangers he would likely have started his career in the minor leagues. Hickey had no regrets signing with the WHA, calling it a "great learning experience."

After his two seasons in the WHA, Pat did join the Rangers in 1975-76. A speedy left-winger with a decent scoring touch, Pat joined the NHL at a time when the style of play was changing more into a skating game than the bruisingly physical game plan employed by the likes of the Flyers and Bruins.

When Hickey first joined the Rangers however, he had trouble cracking the lineup. Although he had the talent and the work ethic, the Rangers preferred to use only 3 lines and Hickey was the 10th forward. But as Hickey explains, being the 10th forward was his forte.

"I never really played on any one line. I did over my career with certain guys for a period of time. But the strength that helped me last 12 years was the fact that as the tenth forward, in any injury situation or under-performance situation by someone else, I could be that left-winger, right-winger or centreman. In other words, a forward.

"And that equated to in reality more ice time than any regular player playing only one position. So with that said, I would characterize myself as a player as versatile and with the strength of spontaneity in the whole decade as the game was changing."

Hickey played over four seasons with the Rangers, recording a career-high 40 goals in 1977-78. That season he was voted by the fans as the most popular player on the team and he was also of Team Canada in the World Championships. Hickey scored 10 goals including the Bronze medal winning goal while playing with Marcel Dionne and Jean Pronovost.

Hickey was later traded to the Colorado Rockies and then to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1979-80. He was re-acquired by New York and then he joined the Quebec Nordiques and St. Louis Blues before retiring after the 1984-85 season.

Hickey retired from he NHL with 192 goals, 212 assists and 404 points in 646 career regular season game. He had 16 points in 55 playoff contests.

In retirement Pat went on to become a successful broker on Wall Street before retuning to hockey. He was asked by the Los Angeles Kings to run their farm team in New Haven. He was quickly recognized as one of the top people in the AHL, spending 5 years as a league governo and being named as the 1992 Executive of the year.

Pat later left New Haven and started his own AHL team. Securing three investors, Pat served as Chief Executive Officer with the Hamilton Canucks. He later sold his interests when he couldn't get local political help on the municipal scene.

Pat opted to step back into the business world after his experience in Hamilton. He would become a financial consultant with Wood Gundy Investments. A driving reason to step back into "normal" life was to spend more tim ewith his kids and wife.

No comments: