Friday, March 24, 2017

1989 Off-Season

1989 Entry Draft

 After a successful expansion draft, the Kansas City Twisters continued their successful off-season when they were awarded the first overall draft pick after winning the draft lottery. The Twisters selected big defenseman Scott Drayton with the pick. Drayton, a standout in junior hockey, stood at 6’4” and weighed in at 221 pounds. He was already PHL-ready at age 18. Tim Dixon, projected to go second, ended up sliding to third after Ottawa took another defenseman, Kevin Drake. Dixon went to the New York Civics. At number four, Miami made power forward Jeremy Sutton the first draft pick in their franchise history. Calgary took a monumental risk with pick number five, selecting Soviet superstar Sergei Krayev. Krayev was the first Soviet player selected since Vladimir Gaganov in 1978. The Wranglers decided to take the gamble amidst rumours that some Soviet players might be released to play in North America in the near future. Two other players were also selected from Eastern Bloc countries in the 1989 draft, Minnesota selected Czech forward Pavel Vana, while Philadelphia selected Soviet phenom Alexei Yolkin with the 24th overall pick.

1.      KC – Scott Drayton, D, USA
2.      OTT – Kevin Drake, D, CAN
3.      NYC – Tim Dixon, F, CAN
4.      MIA – Jeremy Sutton, F, CAN
5.      CGY – Sergei Krayev, F, RUS
6.      LA – Eric Mitchell, D, CAN
7.      CAL – Matt Pope, F, USA
8.      DEN – Jeff Parker, D, USA
9.      TOR – Tom Branson, G, CAN
10.   MTL – Jarkko Vesa, D, FIN
11.   MIN – Pavel Vana, F, CZE
12.   CHI – Steve Mathis, D, CAN
13.   WSH – Tomas Axelsson, F, SWE
14.   QUE – Luke Mann, D, CAN
15.   VAN – Sylvain Dupont, D, USA
16.   BOS – Ricky Meyer, D, USA
17.   WPG – Greg Carr, F, CAN
18.   DET – Magnus Ohlsson, F, SWE
19.   WSH (From PIT) – Jake Borman, G, CAN
20.   EDM – Joey Hamilton, F, CAN
21.   LI - Ashton Nichol, D, USA
22.   STL – Anti Paavola, G, FIN
23.   NS – Mike Singer, F, CAN
24.   PHI – Alexei Yolkin, F, RUS
25.   MIL – JP Laporte, D, CAN
26.   SEA – Eric Butler, D, USA

Notable Retirements:

Stuart Holly – LA, PHI, 1970-1989
Everyone knew Stuart Holly would be a special player when he was selected fifth in the 1970 draft, but the question was just how special. Joined in his second season by dynamic playmaker Ray Fowler, “Captain Hollywood” led the Wizards to a Pacific Division championship. I was a sign of things to come, as the Wizards eventually became one of the most dominant dynasties in PHL history, winning three consecutive Lewis Cups from 1976-78 with Holly leading the way. Holly and the Wizards would not win another championship but Holly continued to be one of the more dangerous scorers in the league well into the 1980s. During his final season, Holly passed George Allen for second on the all-time scoring list, before being traded to the Philadelphia Redshirts for one last run to the finals, where the Redshirts lost to the Milwaukee Choppers.

Gerry Stokes – HAM/WSH, MTL, 1968-1989
Drafted in the first-ever PHL amateur draft by the Hamilton Kings, Stokes was the lone bright spot in the Kings’ dark final years in Hamilton. After the team moved to Washington, Stokes was named team captain and led the Generals to two straight finals appearances in 1980 and 1981. Despite speculation he would retire in 1988, Stoked returned for a 21st season with the Montreal Royale, were he was largely ineffective until scoring his final goal in his final game, nearly putting the Royale in the playoffs.

Russell Buchanan – NS, 1969-1989
During his 21-year career, Russell Buchanan was never seen as an “elite” talent in the PHL. However, his grit and work ethic quickly endeared him to hockey fans across Atlantic Canada. The Claymores struggled through the 1970s, but by the late 1980s, with Buchanan serving as captain, the team managed to win the Northeast Division in seven consecutive seasons and reach the Lewis Cup Finals in 1987, where they lost in seven games to the dynastic St. Louis Spirits. With Buchanan at the helm, the Claymores reached the Eastern Conference finals twice more in ’88 and ’89. Russell Buchanan retired after 1988-89, having never won the Lewis Cup.

Warren Jensen – CGY, 1970-1989
Jensen joined the Calgary Wranglers just a year after they entered the PHL. He spent his first seasons in the league playing on a line with the legendary Sam “Skippy” Cleveland before becoming the team captain himself after Cleveland’s retirement. In 1981, Jensen led Calgary to their first and only Lewis Cup title. In his final years, Jensen served as a mentor to young Calgary stars Shannon Micheals and Jonathan Adams.

James Cummings – MIN, 1971-1989
Cummings served as Guy Dupont’s wingman in Minneapolis throughout the 1970s, helping the Lumberjacks to Lewis Cup titles in 1972 and 1979. Cummings’ experience also played in important role in the ‘Jacks’ return to the post-season in the late ‘80s.

Notable Trades

Washington Trades F Jeff Leroy to Pittsburgh in exchange for 1st round pick.
Pittsburgh adds to their depth in an attempt to make one last run before Danny Stevenson’s expected retirement. Washington commits fully to their rebuild, trading an important veteran and using the pick to select goaltender Jake Borman.

Calgary trades F Trevor Ramsay to Montreal in exchange for F Patrick Garnier.
Montreal acquires struggling but talented young forward Ramsay in the hopes that he will click with Vincent Ducharme as the Royale prepare to transition from rebuilder to contender. Calgary acquires another strong prospect in Garnier.

 Key Free Agents

 Theodore Gill (WPG) signs five-year deal with Philadelphia worth $1 Million/year.
After their heartbreaking loss in the ’89 final, the Redshirts add star forward Gill in an effort to load up for another run.
JC Girard (QUE) signs four-year deal with Montreal worth $1.5 Million/year.
Girard enrages Nationale fans, signing with the hated Royale, his hometown team. Quebec fans burn Girard jerseys outside the arena.

Craig Tucker (WSH) signs one-year deal with Miami worth $700,000/year.
39-year-old Tucker was expected to retire, but was talked into joining the expansion Stingrays. Tucker is the final active PHL player to have played for the Hamilton Kings, and will now be among the first to suit up for the Stingrays.


Just Prior to the 1989-90 season, Alan Garcia finally made the announcement that the upcoming season would be his last as PHL Commissioner. Darryl Byrd would succeed Garcia beginning in 1990-91. “My last act as Commissioner will be to present the Lewis Cup to the winning team in May, 1990” said Garcia. “It has been an honor to serve this league these past 23 years.”
The expansion clubs in Kansas City and Miami had yet to play a game when already, rumours about the next expansion already began to circulate. Dallas-based billionaire Clint Love approached the board of governors about the possibility of a second franchise in Dallas. Deputy Commissioner Darryl Byrd stated his own desire to continue league expansion and that he would address the matter when he took over as commissioner in June, 1990.

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