1966 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
3 16
Rick Ley
Selected by Toronto from Niagara Falls (OHA)
Toronto Maple Leafs Niagara Falls Flyers
Rick Ley

5-foot-9, 190 pounds

Left-hand shot


Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1964-65Niagara Falls OHA 50 0 11 11 58
1965-66Niagara Falls OHA 46 3 13 16 180

Pre-Draft Notes

Won Memorial Cup with Niagara Falls in 1965.
Canadian • Born November 2, 1948 in Orillia, Ontario • Hometown: Orillia, Ontario

Career Vitals

First contract: 1968
Debut: October 13, 1968
(Toronto at Detroit)
Final NHL game: February 2, 1981
(Hartford at Quebec)
Retired: September 9, 1981
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: 26, 2 (Toronto);
2 (Hartford) (number retired)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Toronto, Hartford
Years: 1968-1981. Playoffs: 1971-1972

Regular Season
6 years 310 12 72 84 528
Stanley Cup Playoffs
2 years 14 0 2 2 20
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Niagara Falls captain in 1967-68. ... Won Memorial Cup with Niagara Falls as team captain in 1968. ... Named to OHA All-Star First Team with Niagara Falls in 1967-68. ... Played in first game in New England Whalers WHA history, Oct. 12, 1972, vs. Philadelphia. ... Represented New England in the WHA All-Star Games of 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, and 1979. ... Won the inaugural WHA World Trophy championship with New England in 1973. ... Named to WHA All-Star Third Team with New England in 1972-73. ... Represented Team Canada as one of WHA All-Stars who faced Soviet Union in 1974 Summit Series, appearing seven of the eight games and initiating a fight with Soviet hockey legend Valeri Kharlamov in Game 6. ... Missed part of 1974-75 season with groin injury. ... Won New England Irish Spring Award as outstanding performer in home games for 1974-75. ... Named by The Hockey News to its WHA All-Star First Team in 1974-75. ...  Named New England (WHA) captain in June 1975 and wore "C" for remainder of team's years in WHA, which ended after 1978-79 season. ... Missed part of 1976-77 season with shoulder injury that kept him out of 1977 WHA All-Star Game in Hartford even though he had been selected to play in it. ... Named to WHA All-Star Second Team in 1977-78. ... Named New England's Most Valuable Defenseman for 1977-78. ... Played on WHA All-Star team that swept Moscow Dynamo in three-game series at Edmonton in January 1979 and was named MVP of Game 3 of the series. ...  Named to WHA All-Star First Team in 1978-79. ... Won final WHA Murphy Trophy as league's top defenseman in 1978-79. ... Named New England's Most Valuable Defenseman in 1978-79. ... Finished WHA career with New England Whalers records for career games played (478), career playoff games played (73), career penalty minutes (716), and career playoff penalty minutes (142). ... Served as Hartford's first captain when team transitioned into NHL in 1979 and remained in that role into 1980-81 season when he was sidelined with injuries. ... Was only original New England Whalers WHA player from 1972 to enter NHL with team in 1979 after having played for New England in all seven WHA seasons. ... Played in first game in Hartford-Carolina NHL franchise history at Minnesota on Oct. 11, 1979. ... Named Hartford Most Valuable Defenseman in 1979-80. ... Was co-winner of IHL Commissioner's Trophy as league's Coach of Year with Muskegon in 1984-85. ... Coached Muskegon to IHL Turner Cup championship in 1986. ... Coached Muskegon to 1987-88 IHL regular-season title. ... Inducted into Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame (now the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame) as a charter member in January 1989. ... Was assistant coach of Vancouver team that went to 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. ... Was among first group of players named to WHA Hall of Fame in 2010.

Transaction History

June 1972 -- Left NHL and Toronto organization to sign with New England Whalers (WHA) as one of first NHL players to jump to rival league. ... June 9, 1979 -- Reclaimed by Toronto from Hartford prior to NHL Expansion Draft since Toronto continued to own his NHL rights. June 13, 1970 -- Claimed by Hartford from Toronto in NHL Expansion Draft.

Retired Sweater Number

On Dec. 26, 1982, prior to a game vs. the New York Islanders, Ley had his number retired by the Hartford Whalers. Rick Ley Night was a celebration of Ley's years with the Whalers in both the WHA and NHL. He was only the second Hartford player, after Gordie Howe, to have his number retired by the team. The No. 2 Hartford jersey remained retired until the Whalers relocated to Carolina in 1997. At that point, the number was unretired because it was primarly associated with Whalers WHA history. It would eventually be retired again for Glen Wesley, who wore No. 20 in Hartford but was given No. 2 once the team arrived in Carolina.

Significant Injuries

Missed part of 1969-70 season with damaged cartilage and ligaments in knee. ... Missed part of 1979-80 season with broken left foot. ... Missed entire 1980 playoffs with stretched ligaments in knee, an injury that required off-season surgery. Issues related to the knee injury forced his retirement during the 1980-81 season at age 32.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: Richard Norman Ley

Other Post-Draft Teams: Niagara Falls (OHA); Tulsa (CHL); New England (WHA)

Career Beyond Hockey: Officially retired and settled in Dunnville, Ontario, after his last year of coaching in 2005-06.

Family: Brother-in-law of former NHL player Don Lever.

Non-Playing Career

Named Hartford assistant coach upon his retirement on Sept. 9, 1981, and remained in that position through 1981-82 season. ... Named Binghamton (AHL) head coach on Jan. 4, 1983, and remained in that position through 1982-83 season. ... Named Mohawk Valley (ACHL) head coach prior to 1983-84 season and remained in that position through 1983-84 season. ... Named Muskegon (IHL) head coach prior to 1984-85 season and remained in that position until July 28, 1988. ... Named Milwaukee (IHL) head coach on July 28, 1988, n and remained in that position until June 7, 1989. ... Named Hartford head coach on June 7, 1989, and remained in that position until May 29, 1991. ... Named Vancouver assistant coach on July 3, 1991, and remained in that position until Aug. 10,
1994. During this time period, he served as head coach for five games in 1991-92. ... Named Vancouver head coach on Aug. 10, 1994, and remained in that position until March 29, 1996. ... Named Toronto assistant coach on Aug. 4, 1998, and remained in that position until April 20, 2006. ... Served as Toronto head coach for Game 3 of 2002 NHL Eastern Conference final series while head coach Pat Quinn was hospitalized with irregular heartbeat.

Named Hartford pro scout prior to 1982-83 season and remained in that position until Jan. 4, 1983. ... Named Vancouver pro scout on March 29, 1996, and remained in position until Aug. 4, 1998.


Selected by New England Whalers in 1972 WHA Draft -- first WHA Draft in February 1972. Worked at a hockey school in his hometown during off-seasns of his early NHL career. Paired on defense with Bob Baun for Toronto Maple Leafs in 1971-72 season. Had a goal and three assists for New England (WHA) in March 17, 1975, game vs. Toronto.
Total Selected: 24
Forwards: 14
Defense: 8
Goaltenders: 2
Major Junior: 17
College Players: 0
Canadian: 24
American: 0
Euro-Canadian: 0
European: 0
Reached NHL: 14
Won Stanley Cup: 3
Hall of Fame: 1
All-Star Game: 3
Year-end All-Star: 1
Olympians: 0
Picks Traded: 1

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