Such was the pattern of Rivers' National League career. As a journeyman winger, he was the kind of insurance that original six clubs liked to keep in the minors for special needs. In 1963, the Bruins picked up his policy in an intra-league draft. He remained in their organization, appearing in a handful of Bruins games each year while passing most of each campaign in Hershey.
But then, in 1967, the NHL doubled in size, creating plenty of new big-league jobs. The fledgling St. Louis Blues claimed him in the expansion draft. He started their first season with high hopes for consistency. But as was the case throughout the 1960s, he lasted only 22 games and was then dispatched to the Kansas City Blues of the CHL.
In 1968, Rivers was traded to the New York Rangers where he played his final four NHL games before joining the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. The transition marked the beginning of the second phase of Rivers' career in pro hockey. From the Bisons, he jumped to the Omaha Knights, Baltimore Clippers and then to the Springfield Kings in 1971-72.
It was at that time that the World Hockey Association appeared on the horizon, scooping up many a journeyman with a desire to make more cash. Rivers jumped into the stream, signing with the New York Raiders. In the WHA, Rivers' style of play was well adapted to the wide-open play he encountered. He soon became a prolific scorer, netting 77 points in 75 games. In his third season, he jumped to the San Diego Mariners where he scored 107 points in 78 games.
After his standout performance in 1974-75, Rivers wanted more money than the Mariners were willing to pay. They placed him on waivers along with a handful of other players. He slipped through the waiver net untouched, however, and eventually reconciled with the club. He skated two more years with the team and then rounded out his career with the San Francisco Shamrocks of the PHL in 1978.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame
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