Thursday, June 30, 2016

1978 Off-Season

1978 PHL Entry Draft

The 1978 PHL Entry Draft was an important moment for the Winnipeg Pioneers franchise, who picked first overall. The Pioneers selected big forward Mike Wheeler with the first pick. Wheeler had won back-to-back scoring titles while playing major junior, while also leading his team in penalty minutes as well. After Wheeler, the next three picks were defensemen, with Swedish import Jonas Ekbom going second overall to Philadelphia. Ekbom was not the only European selected as the European invasion continued. Magnus Skoglund was selected by Detroit fifteenth overall, Finnish defenseman Jari Pukki was taken eighteenth by St. Louis, while Montreal finally got their future number one goaltender in Swedish goaltender Victor Malmsten.

1.      Winnipeg – Mike Wheeler, F, CAN
2.      Philadelphia – Jonas Ekbom, D, SWE
3.      Nova Scotia – Brett Curry, D, CAN
4.      Boston – Doug Graham, D, USA
5.      Vancouver – Donald Stone, F, CAN
6.      Dallas – Dale Mcguire, F, CAN
7.      Calgary – Gary Fox, D, USA
8.      Long Island – Brian Reese, F, CAN
9.      Toronto – Rex Hull, F, CAN
10.   Seattle – Paul Walsh, F, CAN
11.   Edmonton – Darrell Cox, F, CAN
12.   Washington – James Russell, D, USA
13.   California – Pat Lloyd, F, CAN
14.   Quebec – JC Girard, F, CAN
15.   Detroit – Magnus Skoglund, F, SWE
16.   New York – Clark Pratt, F, USA
17.   Denver – Kerry Patton, D
18.   St. Louis – Jari Pukki, D, FIN
19.   Chicago – Jim McCarthy, F, CAN
20.   Ottawa – Joe Fletcher, D, CAN
21.   Pittsburgh – Terry Willis, F, CAN
22.   Minnesota – Brett Flores, D, CAN
23.   Montreal – Victor Malmsten, G, SWE
24.   LA – Dan Schwartz, F, CAN

Notable Retirements:

Vince Ward, F, PHI, OTT, 1958-1978
For 20 years, Vince Ward was one of the steadiest and most reliable players in the PHL. Ward played 8 years for the Philadelphia Redshirts, where he helped the Redshirts to the Lewis Cup Finals in 1960. In 1966, Ward was traded to the Ottawa Beavers, where he played 12 years. In 1977, Ward finally returned to the finals with the Beavers, who ultimately lost to the LA Wizards.

Stan Desmond, F, HAM/WSH, EDM, 1960-1978
Stan Desmond played a key role for the Hamilton Kings/Washington Generals franchise for 16 years. Desmond played in the playoffs for Hamilton in 1961 but did not play in the post-season again until after the Kings had moved to Washington just over a decade later. In the twilight of his career, Desmond served as an important veteran presence in Washington. In 1976, Desmond was selected in an expansion draft by the Edmonton Northern Lights, where he played two years, leading the club to the playoffs both seasons.

Alan Fox, F, NS, SEA, 1959-1978
When awarded an expansion franchise in 1959, the first player the Nova Scotia Claymores recruited was Alan Fox. Fox went on to be a franchise player for the Claymores for 15 years, helping to lead them to a Lewis Cup in 1967. Fox played for Nova Scotia until 1974, when he was picked up by another expansion team, the Seattle Grey Wolves. Fox played the final 4 years of his career in Seattle, where he finally led the Wolves to the post-season.


Boston trades F Phil Reid to Minnesota in exchange for F Denis Poirier and two first-round picks in 1979 and 1980.
The Minnesota Lumberjacks make it clear they are chasing a title with this big trade by bringing in another superstar in Phil Reid. However, the ‘Jacks are paying a very steep price, while Boston finally fully commits to their rebuild, acquiring a top notch prospect in Denis Poirier as well as two first-round picks that will be instrumental in the Bulldogs’ rebuild.


Perhaps the biggest news item in 1978 was decisions regarding the 1980 World Hockey Challenge. Prague, Czechoslovakia was selected as the host city. The host Czechs will enter an expanded 8-team tournament along with Great Britain. The format will also change to feature a shortened round-robin as well as a playoff round.

In PHL news, the Boston Bulldogs fired long-time head coach Bruce Winter, replacing him with former NCAA coach Bill Truman. Winter did not take long to find new work, however, signing on as the new head coach of the Winnipeg Pioneers. 

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