Wednesday, July 13, 2016

1979 Off-Season

1979 Entry Draft

The 1979 draft was a particularly strong one. Mississauga ON native Stuart Burns led a very strong draft class after setting several scoring records as a 17-year-old in the Ontario Junior league. Theodore Gill from Manitoba provided stiff competition for Burns in the race to go first overall. Aaron Goodwin was the top defenseman in the draft, with some scouts saying he could’ve been ready to go pro last year. Burns went first overall to Long Island, finally giving the Concordes the franchise player they were looking for, while Gill was selected by the Winnipeg Pioneers. Boston took Aaron Goodwin to anchor their defense. Dallas selected power forward Terry Hawkins, while the Philadelphia Redshirts selected Jeff Waters, a speedy winger from Hamilton, ON. Other interesting picks included Finnish defenseman Kai Hakkarainen, who’s grandfather had actually helped begin Finland’s national team program during the 1920s. Hakkarainen was selected 13th overall by the Detroit Mustangs. Washington selected forward Tommy McGuire, who spent 1978-79 playing high school hockey.

1.      Long Island – Stuart Burns, F, CAN
2.      Winnipeg – Theodore Gill, F, CAN
3.      Boston – Aaron Goodwin, D, USA
4.      Dallas – Terry Hawkins, F, CAN
5.      Philadelphia – Jeff Waters, F, CAN
6.      Nova Scotia – Doug Lyons, D, CAN
7.      Vancouver – Joe Tyler, F, CAN
8.      Seattle – Kevin Sparks, F, CAN
9.      Quebec – Robin Collins, D, CAN
10.   Calgary – Ted Dawson, D, CAN
11.   Washington – Tommy McGuire, F, USA
12.   Edmonton – Neil Nichols, F, CAN
13.   Detroit - Kai Hakkarainen, D, FIN
14.   Toronto – Pasi Villanen, F, FIN
15.   New York – Nelson McCarthy, D, CAN
16.   California – Eric Blake, F, USA
17.   Denver – Edgar Schultz, D, CAN
18.   Chicago – Al Campbell, F, CAN
19.   Ottawa – Ben Stewart, D, USA
20.   St. Louis – Niklas Ekberg, F, SWE
21.   Pittsburgh – Jake Fuller, F, CAN
22.   LA – Raymond Hicks, F, USA
23.   Montreal – Louis St. Laurent, F, CAN
24.   Boston (From Minnesota) – Daryl May, F, CAN

Notable Retirements:

Frank McDermit, D, PHI, 1959-1979
Frank McDermit joined the Philadelphia Redshirts just in time for their run to the Lewis Cup Finals in 1960. The Redshirts would come up short that year as they would each of the other three times they would make it during McDermit’s career. McDermit, however, played a valuable role and was an anchor on the Redshirts’ blueline for 20 seasons, becoming Philadelphia’s all-time leader in points and games played for a defenseman.

Ron Davidson, G, OTT, 1961-1979
For 18 years, Ron Davidson served as the Ottawa Beavers’ starting goaltender. Davidson joined the Beavers when they were still a relatively new franchise and eventually helped them become a contender, finally helping them to an appearance in the Lewis Cup Finals in 1977, where they ultimately lost to the LA Wizards.

Bruce Walker, F, OTT, CAL, DET, SEA, 1959-1979
In 1959, Bruce Walker began an eventful 20-year career that see him play for four teams in two different leagues. Walker made his debut with the Ottawa Beavers in their inaugural season in 1959-60 and soon became a natural leader with the Beavers until 1966, when he left Ottawa to join the San Francisco Nuggets of the new Global Hockey League. Walker was still playing for the Nuggets when they joined the PHL in a merger in 1969 and would continue to play for them until 1973, when he was traded to the Detroit Mustangs. Walker would win his first and only Lewis Cup with the Mustangs before joining the expansion Seattle Grey Wolves just weeks later. Walker would play out the remainder of his career with the Wolves.


Chicago trades D Gary Johnson to Philadelphia in exchange for F Vladimir Gaganov.
In perhaps the most controversial and riskiest trade ever made, Philadelphia finally have an elite talent to lead them in their continued rebuild. If Gaganov can report to the Shamrocks, he will bring much needed offense to Chicago.


The 1979 off-season was a fairly uneventful one in terms of coaching changes. Montreal made the gutsy move of firing head coach Francois Belanger after a series of playoff failures and replacing him with former Royale defenseman Ives Lafrois.

Two future hall-of-famers announced that the 1979-80 season would be their last one in the PHL. LA’s Gilbert Giroux and Minnesota’s Guy Dupont both announced they would retire at season’s end. Giroux’s career began in 1959 with the Quebec Nationale, while Dupont began playing for the Montreal Royale in 1961 before moving to Minnesota in 1966.

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