Connelly, Wayne

Centre  R. 5`10" 170 lbs.
12/16/1939 Rouyn, Quebec
Hometown: Kirkland Lake, Ontario

Wayne Connelly began his major junior hockey career as a member of the OHA's Kitchener Canucks in 1955-56 at the age of 16, appearing in nine games. The following season he played for the Peterborough TPTs, dressing for 52 games, scoring 18 goals and 37 points.

Connelly began his pro career with the Montreal Royals of the EPHL, playing 64 games, scoring 28 goals and 49 points. Late in 1960-61, he dressed for three games for the Montreal Canadiens.

The 1961-62 season was Connelly's rookie year in the NHL, when he played in 61 games for the Boston Bruins, collecting 21 points. Connelly was inserted into the Bruin's lineup for about half the games in each of the next two seasons. For two years, he played exclusively in the WHL with the San Francisco Seals. In 1965-66, he put up strong offensive numbers, scoring 45 goals and 86 points in 72 games. It was that production which earned him another look from the Bruins, who elevated him to full-time status with the club in 1966-67. He had 13 goals and 30 points in 64 games.

With the advent of expansion, Connelly was selected by the Minnesota North Stars for the 1967-68 campaign. In 74 games, he scored an NHL career-high 35 goals and 56 points. Midway through the following season, Connelly was traded to the Detroit Red Wings where he played for a just over a year and had a career-high 59 points in 1969-70 before being dealt to the St. Louis Blues. He found himself on the move again early in the 1971-72 season, being sent to the Vancouver Canucks.

The arrival of the WHA gave options to many players such as Connelly, who opted to try his luck with the fledgling league, signing a lucrative contract with the Minnesota Fighting Saints, which was guaranteed through the first three years. Minnesota was also the offseason home for Connelly and his family. In his first season, he scored 40 goals and 70 points in 78 games, finding the wide-open style to his liking. In 1973-74, he improved on those statistics, scoring 42 goals and 95 points. He once scored five goals in one game, which tied the league record. On that magical evening, Connelly provided all of Minnesotas scoring in a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Stingers. Connelly joined the Cleveland Crusaders in 1975-76. However, his tenure lasted just 12 games, before he was back in a Saints uniform for the final 59 games of the season.

Connelly's final WHA season was split between the Calgary Cowboys and the Edmonton Oilers. His biggest regret during his nine years in the NHL was not getting the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup. The closest chance came in 1968, when the North Stars lost a tough deciding seventh game in the semi-finals.

Player Notes
OHA-Jr. First All-Star Team (1959) ; WHL Second All-Star Team (1965, 1966);Traded to Boston by Montreal (Hull-Ottawa-EPHL) for the loan of Bob Armstrong and Dallas Smith and cash, October 26th, 1961. Traded to San Francisco (WHL) by Boston for cash,June 6th, 1964. Traded to Boston by San Francisco (WHL) for cash, June 14th, 1966. Claimed by Minnesota from Boston in Expansion Draft, June 6th, 1967. Traded to Detroit by Minnesota for Danny Lawson and the rights to Brian Conacher, February 15th, 1969. Traded to St. Louis by Detroit with Garry Unger for Red Berenson and Tim Ecclestone, February 6th, 1971. Traded to NY Rangers by St. Louis with Gene Carr and Jim Lorentz for Andre Dupont, Jack Egers and Mike Murphy, November 15th, 1971. Traded to Vancouver by NY Rangers with Dave Balon and Ron Stuart for Gary Doak and Jim Wiste, November 16th, 1971. Selected by Minnesota (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12th, 1972. Signed as a free agent by Cleveland (WHA) after Minnesota (WHA) franchise folded, March 10th, 1976. Traded to New England (WHA) by Cleveland (WHA) for Fred ODonnell and Bob McManama, June, 1976. Traded to Calgary (WHA) by New England (WHA) for cash, October, 1976. Traded to Edmonton (WHA) by Calgary (WHA) with Claude St. Sauveur for cash, January, 1977.

Awards and Trophies
Prince of Wales Trophy  1960-61