Richard Little played all five years of eligibility with the Panthers, from 1986 to 1991. During his time at UPEI, Rich earned many awards and recognition, including AUAA Men’s Hockey MVP 1989–90.
Rich was a part of the driving force behind the Panthers during the late 1980s and early 90s when they won three AUAA championships, 1986–1987, 1987–1988, and 1990–1991. While with the Panthers, Rich played every position, including filling in as a goaltender in optional practices. During the late 1980s Little was regarded by many as one of the best players in university hockey.
The Port Hawkesbury native came to UPEI from the Verdun Jr. Canadiens, where he played with Jerry Fleming, Jamie Blanchard, Ronnie Annear, Shane MacEachern, Serge Savard, Jr., and Randy Muttart. Rich was accepted into both St. FX and Acadia, but chose UPEI after caving in to peer pressure from Ron Annear (which they still talk about). Known by the players and friends as “Rico,” he was a quiet leader, and as his career at UPEI developed he became stronger and stronger. In 1989–1990 and 1990–1991 he was named an AUAA All-Star and CIAU All-Canadian.
In 1990 Rich was named UPEI Alumni Association Outstanding Male Athlete. That same year he claimed both the Sport PEI Senor Male Athlete Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Amateur Sport.
In 1990 Rich attended the Boston Bruins training camp and was chosen to join Team Canada for the USA Cup Hockey Tournament held in Albany, New York.
Little twice won UPEI‘s Men’s Hockey MVP, in 1989–90 and 1990–91, and won the Panthers scoring title in 1990. He was runner-up for the AUAA scoring title in 1991, coming second to UPEI teammate Derek Clancy.
Rich Little will be remembered by 1991 teammates for writing a message on the dressing room chalkboard during the 1991 AUAA championship final game. “The date is Sunday March 10th a day to remember RICO.” That night they went on to win over the heavily favoured Dalhousie Tigers. Another trip to Toronto was in order.
Rich returned to PEI with his wife Dr. Tamara Hubley-Little and their three girls after spending 12 years in Europe. Tamara has a master’s degree in guidance counseling and is currently VP at Bluefield High School. Rich is actively supporting the “future” of UPEI Hockey and sits as president on the newly elected Hockey Panther Support Group Executive (www.upeihockey.com)