1981 Entry Draft
The 1981 PHL Draft was intriguing right from the start, when the Vancouver Bighorns traded superstar forward Archie Stone to the Winnipeg Pioneers for Winnipeg’s first overall pick. The Bighorns used the pick on junior superstar Brett Townsend, the player they hoped would turn the franchise around. The draft was dominated by Canadian players early on, the first non-Canadian selected was Andy Hicks, selected fifth by Vancouver. Swedish forward Jacob Lindholm was quite possibly the second-best player in the draft, but slipped to 7th due to concerns that he may not leave Sweden. Lundholm did sign with Long Island a month later, relieving the Concordes concerns.
1. Vancouver (from Winnipeg) – Brett Townsend, F, CAN
2. Dallas – Travis Curry, F, CAN
3. Quebec – Adrian Hubbard, D, CAN
4. Boston – Dale Knight, D, CAN
5. Vancouver – Andy Hicks, D, USA
6. Nova Scotia – Owen Kennedy, F, CAN
7. Long Island – Jacob Lundholm, F, SWE
8. Edmonton – Gary Clayton, F, USA
9. Philadelphia – Roy Jones, F, CAN
10. Seattle – Jason Briggs, F, CAN
11. Detroit – Jussi Moilanen, F, FIN
12. Toronto – Scott Reese, D, CAN
13. New York – Darrell Cross, F, USA
14. Calgary – Lynn Sanders, D, CAN
15. Pittsburgh – Ian Fox, D, CAN
16. Ottawa – Eric Bridges, F, CAN
17. Minnesota – Hindrik Hjertsson, F, SWE
18. Denver - Jeff Murray, F, USA
19. Nova Scotia (from Chicago) – Evan Flowers, D, USA
20. LA – Luke Rhodes, F, CAN
21. Washington – Chris Greene, F, CAN
22. California – Rick Griffin, D, CAN
23. St. Louis – Roni Laukanen, F, FIN
24. Montreal – Carey Morrison, F, CAN
Johnny Bedford, D, BOS, CGY, 1964-1981
For 16 seasons, Johnny Bedford was the face of the Boston Bulldogs franchise. Bedford served as Boston’s captain for over a decade, leading them to a Lewis Cup victory in 1971, and playing a huge role in their trip back to the finals in 1976, where they lost to the LA Wizards. Late in Bedford’s career, the Bulldogs began to rebuild and towards the end of his last season in 1980-81, Bedford was traded to the Calgary Wranglers. After helping the Wranglers to their first Lewis Cup title, Bedford signed with Boston once again for just one day to announce his retirement as a Bulldog.
Bjorn Rasmussen, F, CHI, VAN, DET, STL, 1958-1981
In 1958, Norway native Bjorn Rasmussen became the first-ever European-trained player to make it to the PHL. Rasmussen quickly became one of Chicago’s better players through the 1960s until he suddenly left the Shamrocks to join the Vancouver Bighorns of the rival Global league. In 1969, Rasmussen returned to the PHL with the Bighorns in the PHL/GHL merger but was traded to Detroit in 1972, where he won two consecutive Lewis Cups with the Mustangs before playing the final six years of his career alongside phenom David Appleby in St. Louis.
Don Banks, F, DET, 1961-1981
Almost everyone knew Don Banks would be good from the beginning of his 20-year career. In 1961-62, Banks scored 52 goals as a rookie as his Detroit Mustangs reached the Lewis Cup Finals. A year later, Banks’ Mustangs won the Lewis Cup for the first time. Don Banks would play a major role in Detroit’s dynasty throughout the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. He would then stay in Detroit through their rebuild immediately after and led the Mustangs to a few surprising playoff runs towards the end of his career. The Mustangs have said they will retire Banks’ number 13 on opening night in 1981-82.
Phil Halas, F, NYC, 1961-1981
Phil Halas was easily New York’s best forward throughout the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, a time when the Civics were best known for their defense. Halas led the team in scoring 13 out of the 20 years he played with the team and helped lead them to a Lewis Cup victory in 1975.
Gil Parsons, F, PHI, 1965-1981
One of the toughest players ever to play the game, Gil Parsons personified the nasty Philadelphia Redshirts teams of the 1970s. Parsons’ personal rivalry with Boston captain Johnny Bedford perfectly represented the intense rivalry between the Redshirts and Bulldogs. Although Parsons never won the Lewis Cup, he led Philly to the finals in 1968 and 1974.
Vancouver trades F Archie Stone to Winnipeg in exchange for 1st overall draft pick.
Winnipeg gets a superstar player who can take them from the basement to contention, Vancouver now has two top-five picks including number 1.
Chicago trades F Jim McCarthy and 1st round draft pick to Nova Scotia in exchange for F Eddie Gibbs.
The Shamrocks add another superstar to their lineup in Gibbs as they continue to push for a title while the Claymores get a second pick in this years’ draft along with a solid prospect in McCarthy.
On July 16, 1981, Quebec Nationale owner and founder Jean Poulette passed away at the age of 80. Poulette’s daughter, Olivia, took control of the team, becoming the first female owner in the “big five” major sports leagues.
In other league news, the PHL decided to pull the plug on the long pants they had experimented with the previous two seasons. Both Denver and LA had already cast theirs aside in favor of the more traditional pants and socks, now Edmonton and Long Island would also revert back to the classic look. Long Island announced they would make other changes to their uniforms as well, which would be revealed just prior to the start of the season.