Happy 83rd Birthday to Former Bruins Right Winger Wayne Hicks!
Wayne Hicks was born on April 9th, 1937 in Aberdeen, Washington. He began his junior career in the now-defunct Western Canada Junior Hockey League (WCJHL) with the Calgary Buffaloes at the age of 16. He played four seasons in juniors totaling 75 goals and 69 assists for 144 points in 141 games for Calgary, the Moose Jaw Canucks, the Yorkton Terriers, and Melville Millionaires.
Hicks then played in parts of three seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Calgary Stampeders posting 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points in 128 games. Hicks then played nearly a full season in the now-defunct Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL) with the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds, posting 30 goals and 47 assists for 77 points in 69 games before making his NHL debut in the 1960 NHL playoffs for the Chicago Black Hawks.
Hicks made his regular-season debut the following season for Chicago playing in just a single game. Hicks’s only playoff appearance has a special place in Black Hawks history as he helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup on April 16th, 1961 with a 5-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. Hicks was traded the following season to the Montreal Canadiens then was drafted about a week later by the Bruins in the Intra-League Draft.
Hicks posted seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 65 games in the 1962-63 season for Boston. He didn’t stay in Boston for long as he was dealt back to Montreal before the following season for cash. He spent the majority of his next four seasons in the AHL for the Quebec Aces, the Canadiens affiliate before the Philadelphia Flyers purchased the AHL franchise in May of 1967.
Hicks became the first American-born player in Flyers history and was part of the starting lineup for the very first game in franchise history on October 11th, 1967. During that season, Hicks became the first player to score in the redone Madison Square Garden on February 18th, 1968. Hicks played 32 games for the Flyers before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 27th for Art Stratton. He finished the campaign posting six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 47 games for both teams.
Hicks never played in the NHL after the 1968 season but enjoyed good success in both the WHL and AHL. In his final two seasons in the AHL, he posted 47 goals and 57 assists for 104 points in 129 games for the Baltimore Clippers. In his final four seasons in the WHL for primarily the Phoenix Roadrunners, he totaled 91 goals and 131 assists for 222 points in 283 games.
Since his retirement in 1974, Hicks was inducted into the Regional District of Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. Hicks is the father of Alex Hicks who also played for the Penguins. When Alex played his first game for Pittsburgh on November 21st, 1996, it marked the first time a father and son had played for the Penguins. Happy Birthday Mr. Hicks!