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Zoneranger's Whozis #227


zoneranger

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Good Eye BiB!

Chico Maki grew up in northern Ontario and played Tier Two with his hometown Sault Ste Marie North Stars at the age of 16 before heading south to join the St. Catharines Teepees of the OHA, headed by legendary general manager Rudy Pilous.

In his first year with the Teepees, Maki played a checking role, with his main objective to stop the opposition's top forwards. By his second year, Maki received more offensive responsibilities and it showed in his offensive numbers. Playing alongside the likes of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita didn't hurt either. In 1958-59, Maki was one of the team leaders and contributed 41 goals and 94 points in 54 games.

Despite the fact Maki had improved his all-around game, he was essentially ignored by the NHL, and specifically the Chicago Blackhawks, were already rich in talent at the forward positions. With limited options of where he could play, he decided to return to the Teepees for a fourth season in 1959-60 which turned out to be the best move he could have selected. Once again Maki was one of the team's offensive leaders and was an instrumental force in helping St. Catharines to win the Memorial Cup championship that spring. Other notables on that powerhouse Teepees team included; Vic Hadfield, Ray Cullen, Bill Ives and Roger Crozier in goal.

It was thanks to Maki's strong play with the Teepees in 1960 that led to his earning a full-time roster spot with the AHL's Buffalo Bisons. By the fall of 1962, Maki had earned himself a place with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, where he remained for duration of his 13-year NHL career. Maki's best season from an offensive point of view was in 1970-71 when he tallied 22 goals and 48 points. Maki and the Blackhawks twice advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, coming up on the losing end both times to the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and 1973.

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