Maki was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He broke into professional hockey in 1964 with the St. Louis Braves of the CPHL, and joined the Chicago Black Hawks at left wing for the 1967–1968 season, playing the year with his older brother Chico Maki.
He was claimed by the St. Louis Blues in 1969. In a preseason game on September 21, 1969, Maki and Boston Bruins defenceman "Terrible" Ted Green engaged in a bloody, violent stick-swinging fight; Green was hit in the head and suffered a fractured skull and a brain injury. Maki was eventually sent down to the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. Later commentators have rated Maki's attack as one of the most vicious attacks in league history.
The Vancouver Canucks claimed Maki in the 1970 NHL Expansion Draft. The feisty winger caught on with the team and became one of the franchise's first stars, being among the team's leading scorers both of his full seasons with the team. Maki played two and a half seasons with Vancouver until being diagnosed with brain cancer in December 1972. He died on May 1, 1974, aged only 29. The Canucks unofficially retired his Number 11 jersey until Mark Messier, who had worn Number 11 with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers, joined the team.
His NHL career statistics are: 246 games played, 57 goals, 79 assists, 136 points, and 184 penalty minutes in regular season play, and 2 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, and 2 penalty minutes in the playoffs.
- Wayne Maki's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
- Wayne Maki's biography at Legends of Hockey
- CBC Sports Online: Top 10 Hockey Violence Lowlights
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