Monday, July 5, 2010

William Lawrence “Billy the Kid” Hicke

Hockey was a possession for this boy, son of a barber from his early childhood. “I was a rink rat at seven, “ he said. “I made myself a real nuisance, but I'd fetch wood for the pot belled stove and spend three or four hours a day on the ice.”
Billy in 1946, 1947 and 1948 played on the Pat's Bantams and won three provincial tiles. In 1952 and 1953 he moved up to the Pat Midgets and won two more provincial titles. He was such a good hockey player that at the same time (1952 and 1953) he also played for the Pat Juveniles. They also won the provincial titles in the same years. He won Most Valuable Players awards, All-Star selections and league scoring titles from 1946 to 1953.
In 1954 he was the second youngest player ever to play for the Regina Pats Junior Team. He was fifteen years old when he was called up for the 1953-4 play-offs against Lethbridge, scoring a hat trick. In 1954-55, 1955-56 and 1957-58 his teams won the Western Canada Hockey League Championship and competed in Memorial Cup finals in those three years. In 1956-57 selected on the All-Star Team and in 1957-58 season won the League scoring title and League's Mose Valuable Player Award and selected on the first All-Star Team. In 1959-60 season his sweater # 17 was the first sweater to be retired the Regina Pats Hockey Club.
At the age of 20 played his first professional season (1958-59) with Rochester Americans; scoring 41 goals and had 97 points.
Awarded Scoring Championship, Rookie of the year and Most Valuable player in the American Hockey League. Same season called up by the Montreal Canadiens for one play-off games and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He began his 46 year marriage to Lee Anne the following summer. (Photo: Ron Johnston - collection)
Billy embarked on a 14 year pro hockey career and retired in 1973. The following year he purchased Kyle's Sporting Store in downtown Regina from former NHL players Bill and Gus Kyle until 1990.
In 1986 along with three friends he became co-owner of the Regina Pats for the next ten years. He was General Manager for five years and coach for part of a season.
In his latter years; asthma, diabetes, then prostate cancer for seven years, slowed him down. Hicke passed away Monday, July 18, 2005 at the age of 67, in his home town of Regina, Saskatchewan.
Also: See his obituary - click (obituaries) at the top of the WebSite.