Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Rick Hampton
In the early 1970s, the St. Catharines Blackhawks of the OHA was a team stacked with impressive young talent, and many of the players seemed earmarked for the NHL. Among them was a defenseman named Rick Hampton, who had excellent blend of offensive skills and a well-rounded defensive game, despite being just 16 when he made the successful jump to Major Junior hockey.

In 1973-74, 17-year-old Hampton and teammates such as Rick Adduono, Dave Gorman and Wilf Paiement turned the OHA on its ear, marching through the playoffs to the championship. The Blackhawks then represented the OHA at the Memorial Cup, where they lost in the semifinals 11-3 to the high-scoring Quebec Remparts, led by Real Cloutier. But, with most of the core players still having two years of eligibility remaining in junior, it was felt the Blackhawks would be unstoppable the following year. However, NHL and WHA teams had other ideas. The team of young stars, including Hampton, were selected as high draft pick underagers in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. Hampton was chosen third overall that summer by the California Golden Seals, while teammate Paiement went second overall to the Kansas City Scouts. Gorman jumped to the WHA, signing a lucrative deal with the Phoenix Roadrunners. And so ended the hopes of a junior championship for the Blackhawks in 1975.

As an 18-year-old rookie with the Seals, Hampton played in 78 games, scoring eight times while gathering 25 points. After another year in Oakland, the franchise re-located to Cleveland and became the Barons. Years later Hampton admitted leaving junior hockey at such a young age was likely a mistake, especially when so much was expected of him, going to one of the NHL's weakest teams and being saddled with the burden of having to be one of the immediate cornerstones for turning the franchise around.

Before his 22nd birthday, Hampton was placed on the Minnesota North Stars Reserve List following the Minnesota/Cleveland dispersal draft, when the Barons folded into the North Stars organization. Minnesota then gave Hampton to the Los Angeles Kings as part of a compensation package for signing Gary Sargent. Hampton played just 52 games with the Kings over two years, and by age 24, his NHL career was over.

Hampton continued to play professional hockey for another four years in the AHL and Switzerland before retiring from competition in 1984 at the age of 27. He now lives with his wife north of Toronto where he works as an arena manager.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1972-73 St. Catharines Black Hawks OHA-Jr. 50 1 20 21 98
1973-74 St. Catharines Black Hawks OHA-Jr. 65 25 25 50 110 12 3 8 11
1973-74 St. Catharines Black Hawks M-Cup 3 2 0 2 4
1974-75 California Golden Seals NHL 78 8 17 25 39 -40
1975-76 California Golden Seals NHL 73 14 37 51 54 -12
1976-77 Cleveland Barons NHL 57 16 24 40 13 -11
1976-77 Canada WEC-A 10 1 2 3 4
1977-78 Cleveland Barons NHL 77 18 18 36 19 -24
1977-78 Canada WEC-A 10 0 0 0 9
1978-79 Los Angeles Kings NHL 49 3 17 20 22 0 2 0 0 0 0
1979-80 Los Angeles Kings NHL 3 0 0 0 0 +3
1979-80 Binghamton Dusters AHL 19 4 5 9 11
1980-81 Houston Apollos CHL 33 11 13 24 17
1980-81 New Brunswick Hawks AHL 36 4 23 27 37 13 0 1 1 30
1981-82 HC Ambri-Piotta Swiss-2
1982-83 HC Ambri-Piotta Swiss-2 32 3 8 11 7
1983-84 Rochester Americans AHL 21 1 3 4 7
NHL Totals 337 59 113 172 147 2 0 0 0 0


Transferred to Cleveland after California franchise relocated, August 26, 1976. Placed on Minnesota Reserve List prior to Minnesota-Cleveland Dispersal Draft, June 14, 1978. Transferred to Los Angeles by Minnesota with Steve Jensen and Dave Gardner as compensation for Minnesota's signing of free agent Gary Sargent, July 15, 1978
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