1988 Entry Draft
The 1988 PHL Draft was quite a strong one for Canadian players. Fifteen players selected in the first round were Canadian, including the number one pick, Shannon Micheals, a big, talented power forward from Toronto. Micheals was selected by the Calgary Wranglers, giving them a true franchise player to base their rebuild around. Ottawa passed on the projected number two pick, Gustav Mattsen, to select 50-goal junior star Todd Becker. Mattsen went to the LA Wizards. One of the most interesting picks in the draft was Lamar Jackson, selected fifth by the New York Civics. Jackson was originally from a tough neighborhood in Harlem, and grew up watching the Civics, until his mother moved the family to Queens to get her sons away from street life, where both excelled at multiple sports. Jackson eventually chose to pursue a hockey career and moved to Quebec to play junior, where he got PHL scouts’ attention as a punishing, but skilled defenseman. Other interesting picks included Detroit’s Patrick Fletcher, whose father was a sports columnist in Minnesota for twenty years, and Seattle’s Mike Powell, a two-sport athlete who was also drafted into the Professional Baseball League.
1. CGY – Shannon Micheals, F, CAN
2. OTT – Todd Becker, F, CAN
3. LA – Gustav Mattsen, F, SWE
4. CAL – Bradley Pope, G, USA
5. NYC – Lamar Jackson, D, USA
6. DEN – Kaino Rippola, F, FIN
7. TOR – Ty McInnis, D, CAN
8. WSH – Rob Wentzel, F, CAN
9. QUE – Scott Miller, D, CAN
10. MIN – Matt Cunningham, D, CAN
11. DET – Patrick Fletcher, F, USA
12. BOS – Kyle Boone, F, USA
13. CHI – Martin Vannier, F, CAN
14. VAN – Niklas Asplund, G, SWE
15. WPG – Jason Driscoll, F, CAN
16. MTL – Patrick Garnier, F, CAN
17. EDM – Marshal Jackson, F, CAN
18. PHI – Jonathan Perry, D, USA
19. PIT – Scott Lindsey, F, CAN
20. LI (From Milwaukee) – Greg Powers, G, CAN
21. SEA – Mike Powell, F, USA
22. LI – Craig Moody, D, CAN
23. NS – Adam Cote, D, CAN
24. STL – Stephan Millet, D, CAN
Cliff Lyle – DET, MIL, 1969-1988
As a relatively young player, Lyle played a somewhat limited role in Detroit’s dynasty in the early ‘70s, until the 1973-74 season, when he was arguably the Mustangs’ best player as the team skated to their fourth Cup in six seasons. In the years following the dynasty, Lyle served as the Mustangs captain, until a 1985 trade sent him to the Milwaukee Choppers. Lyle won his fifth Lewis Cup in 1988 with the Choppers.
Nate Carroll – PIT, 1971 – 1988
Both talented and tough-as-nails, Nate Carroll served as the perfect wingman for Danny Stevenson over his 17-year career in Pittsburgh. Along with Stevenson and Dave Breedon, Carroll helped for one of the deadliest lines in hockey as Pittsburgh appeared in the Lewis Cup Finals four times in the 1980s, winning it in 1985.
Emmett Hudson – MTL, 1969 – 1988
A horrific eye injury nearly ended Emmett Hudson’s career in 1977, but the winger would bounce back in the following years. In 1980-81, Hudson enjoyed his best season ever, scoring 128 points. In his final years in a Montreal jersey, Hudson served as a valuable mentor to young phenom Vincent Ducharme.
Eddie Gibbs – NS, CHI, 1970 – 1988
From 1970 to 1981, gritty Eddie Gibbs served as one of the most popular players in Nova Scotia Claymores history during some lean years for the franchise. In 1981, Gibbs was dealt to the Chicago Shamrocks, where he played a big role in the Shamrocks emotional 1983 Lewis Cup victory.
Sheldon Hopkins – LA, 1970 - 1988
Although he was somewhat overshadowed by one of the greatest duos in PHL history, Sheldon Hopkins was still a very important figure in the LA dynasty of the early 70s. Anchoring the Wizards’ checking line throughout the dynasty years, Hopkins eventually replaced legend Gilbert Giroux as the third wheel to Stuart Holly and Ray Fowler on LA’s top line in the latter half of his career.
Todd Beirness – TOR, 1969 – 1988
One of the more underrated players in PHL history, Todd Beirness was a fan favorite in Toronto for nearly two decades, serving as the Racers’ captain in the second half of his career. Beirness captained the Racers to a Lewis Cup Finals appearance in 1979.
Long Island trades G Ron Tatum to Long Island in exchange for F Ton Taylor.
The Concordes add another veteran in preparation for another run, Calgary finally gets their future franchise goalie.
Long Island trades D Jim Ward to Milwaukee in exchange for 20th overall pick.
The Concordes continue their busy summer with their second trade, sending their top prospect for a draft pick used on goaltender Greg Power. Milwaukee gets a talented young defenseman to replace Cliff Lyle.
St. Louis trades F Pierre Dubois to California in exchange for D Ken Gilbert.
The Spirits add a veteran, big-name defenseman while California adds to their impressive list of prospects.
Key Free Agents
Marcus Renberg (VAN) signs 5-year deal with Minnesota worth $.9 Million/year.
The ‘Jacks add another veteran star to anchor their defense.
Dawson Robb (LA) signs 3-year deal with Boston worth $.8 Million/year.
Boston adds much needed defensive depth.
Gerry Stokes (WSH) signs 1-year deal with Montreal worth $.7 Million/year.
The 20-year veteran Stokes decides against retirement, instead signing with the emerging Royale to help mentor Vincent Ducharme.
The news everyone was waiting for in 1988 finally came on July 18, when the PHL’s two newest expansion teams revealed their names and colors. The Kansas City franchise would be known as the Kansas City Twisters, with the colors Black, “Electric” Blue, Silver, and White. The Miami franchise would be named the Miami Stingrays, with a very bold color scheme of Teal, “Hot Pink”, Silver, Black, and White. While the Stingrays’ logo would not be ready until the 1989 off-season, Kansas City owner Ken Milliken said the Twisters’ logo would be unveiled just prior to the 1988-89 season.
In other franchise news, California Nuggets owner James Coleman announced his plans to sell the franchise. At age 76, Coleman has owned the Nuggets since they were one of the original six franchises in the GHL. Coleman already sold the Professional Basketball League franchise in San Francisco and hopes to sell the Nuggets to someone who will keep the team in the Bay area.
In coaching news, Philadelphia released head coach David Zimmer, replacing him with another former Redshirt, Kurt Hopkins. Zimmer quickly found another job, however, as first ever head coach/GM of the expansion Miami Stingrays. The Redshirts stated that Zimmer would still be included in the 50th anniversary celebration on opening night. “It was a tough decision to let Dave go” said GM Bill Craswell. “The time came that we just had to make a change. That being said, there’s no question what Dave means to this franchise and its history and we still want to acknowledge that.”