Francis Robert Hickey
Born: June 9, 1924
Died: December 9, 2013 (Toronto)
Frank Hickey served two years as a gunner in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He was demobilized just in time to join the Toronto Argonauts football team as an end for the 1945 season.
Used mostly as a backup in his rookie season, he got his name on the scoresheet in the 1945 Grey Cup. After Joe Krol returned an intrecepted pass 55 yards for a touchdown, Hickey scored the convert to make it 30-0 in what would be a 35-0 rout of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
In 1946, Hickey attended the University of Toronto, where he played for the Varsity Blues, missing out on the Argos’ repeat as Grey Cup champions. He returned to the Boatmen in 1947, once again enjoying an Argonauts championship.
After three seasons in Toronto, Hickey was lured west to Edmonton in 1949. Annis Stukus, known as the Loquacious Lithuanian, signed Hickey and three other Argos, including his younger brother, Bill, known as Little Stuke, for a revived Eskimos franchise. Canadian football was about to enter the big time and the modern era.
“I saw the transition,” Hickey once told Paul Patton of the Globe and Mail. “When I was with the Argos, the team was all-Canadian, but, by 1950, teams were using U.S. imports and bringing in a new crew every year.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound halfback and flying wing retired as a player after six seasons.
Hickey had been a high school all-star at Malvern Collegiate and St. Michael’s College in Toronto before enlisting. His quick post-war return to the gridiron surprised him.
“The thing that stands out in my mind is that I could play football at the high school level and move right up to the Argos,” he told the Globe in 1985. “But that year I played behind Jack Wedley. They only used me when he got tired.”
Hickey coached the Edmonton Wildcats junior team for two seasons before returning east to operate a car dealership in Simcoe, Ont. He later ran a Canadian Tire store in Markham, Ont.