Born in Ottawa, Ontario, he spent most of his childhood in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. His enthusiasm and exceptional hockey skills were soon noticed.
His hard shot and the quality of his skating skills caught scouts’ attention. He was drafted by the Sherbrooke Castors in the 1st round, 4th overall, of the 1976 QMJHL Entry Draft.
As soon as he stepped onto the ice, he terrorized opposing goaltenders during the 1976-77 season. His franchise rookie records of 51 goals and 110 points have yet to be threatened. As such, his achievements would earn him the QMJHL Rookie of the Year title. In addition, with 23 points in 18 games in the playoffs, he proved to be an important player in the Castors’ conquest of the President Cup in the spring of 1977.
With 155 points registered during the 1977-78 regular season, he could count on two exceptional teammates in Sylvain Locas and Ron Carter, who scored 80 and 88 goals respectively while Vaive lit the lamp on 76 occasions. Nine of his goals were scored shorthanded, a franchise record that still stands today.
In 1978, he was invited to join Canada’s junior squad for the World Championships. The Canadians returned with the bronze medal.
During his QMJHL career, including the playoffs, he collected 300 points in 164 games, 145 goals and 155 assists, not to mention that his intensity earned him 408 penalty minutes.
In 1978-79 while still a junior, the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association managed to sign him to a pro contract, much to the despair of Castors’ General Manager Georges Guilbault, who considered him to be the best player in franchise history.
Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1979 National Hockey League Entry Draft, he would spend little time with them as he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. This would end up being quite an acquisition for the Leafs as Rick Vaive became the first 50-goal scorer in franchise history during the 1981-82 season.
For 11 straight seasons, he would score at least 25 goals for Toronto, Chicago and Buffalo, including three 50-goal campaigns with the Leafs. In 876 NHL games, he scored 441 times and collected 788 points while registering an impressive 1445 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, he recorded a goal every second game (27 goals in 54 games).
He represented Canada at the World Championships in 1982 and 1985, scoring 9 goals in 19 games.
From 1993 to 2001, he was a head coach for minor professionals teams (ECHL | AHL) or juniors (OHL).
He continues to follow the activities of the National Hockey League closely as a contributor to various Leafs TV programs.
Rick Vaive entered the QMJHL Hall of Fame as a player on April 8th, 2020.
|Saison régulière / Regular Season|
|Séries éliminatoires / Playoffs|