He had just one hockey card. He was a defenseman that could put up numbers. He was also a defenseman that enjoyed a little time in the penalty box. Rick Foley was unorthodox. He could simultaneously be among a league’s top scorers and be a penalty minute leader, as well.
Foley spent little time in the National Hockey League but in 1971-72, he did get a decent shot with the Philadelphia Flyers. He put up numbers that were not quite on par with Bobby Orr but they were great numbers for a blue liner, nonetheless.
Rick Foley passed away at the age of 70 on September 29, 2015.
Rick Foley – Junior and Minor Pro
Rick Foley played the 1962-63 season with the Toronto Marlboros in the Metro Toronto Junior Amateur Hockey League (MTJAHL), a league that had separated from the OHA for a few seasons.
With those Marlboros, Foley showed his ability to be an offensive defenseman. In 30 games, he scored six and assisted on 24 for 30 points. He sat a modest 64 minutes in the penalty box.
In the playoffs, he was nearly a point per game with eight in nine. Toronto lost in the finals to the Neil McNeil Maroons.
The following year, the MTJAHL ceased with the Marlboros and Oshawa Generals joining back up with the OHA Junior A circuit. Rick split his season, playing eight games with Toronto and eight more with Oshawa.
Foley dropped to Junior B hockey after that until turning pro in 1966-67 with the Charlotte Checkers in the EHL. In his rookie season, Rick finished fourth in the league with 222 penalty minutes.
He returned to the Checkers in 1967-68 and his offensive side began to shine. Foley finished seventh in the league with 78 assists while also scoring 17 goals for 95 points over 71 regular season games. Great numbers but, this was a league where you needed 119 points just to crack the top ten in 1967-68.
That year, Foley dropped to ninth in the bad boy department with 192 PIM. The Checkers reached the EHL finals before falling to the Clinton Comets.
It was more of the same in 1968-69 with Foley again playing for Charlotte. It would be his last year in the league. He tied for seventh with 58 assists and finished ninth with 212 PIM. He also appeared in two CHL games with the Dallas Black Hawks and five games in the WHL with the Portland Buckaroos.
The Buckaroos liked what they saw and Rick became a permanent fixture in the lineup for 1969-70. He was second with 227 PIM and sat 65 in just eight playoff games as Portland lost in the finals to the Vancouver Canucks.
Foley took the title in 1970-71, leading the WHL with 306 PIM, 116 more than the second place contender. However, he also finished sixth with 54 assists and cracked the top ten with his 71 points. The Buckaroos were champions, taking out the Phoenix Roadrunners in the finals. That year, he also saw his first National Hockey League action with the Chicago Blackhawks.
With his short NHL career in the books and his career returned to the minors, Foley again was on the leader board in 1973-74. Now playing in the American Hockey League with the Baltimore Clippers, Rick tied for fifth with 56 assists and had sole possession of fifth with 164 PIM.
In 1974-75, he joined the Syracuse Eagles in the AHL. He finished third with 306 PIM, ten behind both Gilles Lupien of the Nova Scotia Voyageurs and Jack McIlhargey of the Richmond Robins. Playing nine games with Foley that year for the Eagles was the infamous Bill Goldthorpe, the inspiration for Ogie Ogilthorpe in the 1977 classic Slap Shot.
Rick Foley – NHL/WHA
His National Hockey League career was short but maybe should have been longer. In all, Rick Foley played 67 regular season games in the NHL between 1970-71 and 1973-74. Over that time, he scored eleven and assisted on 26 for 37 points with a modest 180 penalty minutes.
He played two games for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1970-71 along with four more games in the Stanley Cup playoffs, his only NHL post season action. On October 15, 1971, Foley was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers with Andre Lacroix going to Chicago. This should have been a lopsided deal but Lacroix didn’t perform well in Chicago and was off to the WHA the year after.
With the Flyers in 1971-72, Rick looked to be an emerging gem. In 58 games, he scored eleven and assisted on 25 for 36 points. He finished fifth in the NHL with 168 PIM. But, his days in Philadelphia were numbered. He was sent back down to the minors where he would stay until May 15, 1973.
On that date, Foley was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Serge Lajeunesse. He appeared in seven games with the Red Wings in 1973-74, the final games of his National Hockey League career. He provided no offense and was administered just two minor penalties.
He signed with the World Hockey Association’s Toronto Toros in 1975-76 and was supposed to provide some muscle. However, Foley appeared in just eleven games with Toronto and sat three minors. He contributed a goal and two assists to close the books on his WHA career.
Rick Foley – Rookie Card
The Rick Foley rookie card appears as number 80 in the 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee NHL hockey card set and as number 98 in the 1972-73 Topps collection. It was the only card that would feature Foley.
The back of the card refers to his offensive style with always high assist totals. It also refers to his WHL record of 29 consecutive games with at least one penalty during the 1970-71 season with the Portland Buckaroos.
Rick Foley Career Stats
|1968-69||Dallas Black Hawks||CHL||2||0||0||0||4|
|1972-73||San Diego Gulls||WHL||31||5||14||19||110|
|1973-74||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||7||0||0||0||4|