1999 Entry Draft
The 1999 draft was projected to be a fairly strong one. Brad McNair became the first Newfoundland native ever drafted first overall, going to the New Orleans Sound. McNair was a superstar in the Atlantic Junior league, scoring 67 goals for the Cape Breton Scotties in 1998-99. The Denver Bulls selected Danny Brassard second out of the Quebec Hockey League, while Boston took Swedish defenseman Matt Andersson third. The Redshirts were particularly busy at the draft, selecting Russian Alexei Ivanov 20th, then trading Gustav Mattsen to Chicago for Ben Kerrigan and the 22nd pick, which they used on American defenseman Ryan Schwimmer. Only one player with PHL bloodlines was selected. Jefferey Ricketts was chosen by Carolina at number 10. Ricketts is the son of Calgary Wranglers head coach and former center Bruce Ricketts.
1. New Orleans – Brad McNair, F, CAN
2. Denver – Danny Brassard, D, CAN
3. Boston – Matt Andersson, D, SWE
4. Edmonton - Brandon Kelso, F, CAN
5. St. Louis – Stanislav Lukin, F, RUS
6. Milwaukee – Henrik Akerman, F, SWE
7. Calgary – Vincent Cote, D, CAN
8. Quebec – Jay Phoenix, F, USA
9. Dallas – Antti Pulkkinen, F, FIN
10. Carolina – Jeffrey Ricketts, F, CAN
11. Miami – Ryan Woods, F, USA
12. Detroit – Patrick Tremblay, D, CAN
13. Vancouver – Philippe Gagnon, G, CAN
14. Long Island – Nikolai Nazakov, F, RUS
15. Seattle – Oskar Sandin, D, SWE
16. Cleveland – Blair Kelsey, G, USA
17. Pittsburgh – Shane Phillips, F, CAN
18. Winnipeg – Justin Powell, F, USA
19. California – Luca Schober, D, SWZ
20. Philadelphia – Alexei Ivanov, F, RUS
21. Toronto – Chris Kolakowski, D, CAN
22. Philadelphia (from Chicago) – Ryan Schwimmer, D, USA
23. Los Angeles – Kevin Bishop, F, CAN
24. Kansas City – Josh McKenzie, F, CAN
25. New York – Brad Carroll, F, USA
26. Washington – Damian Lewicki, D, CAN
27. Montreal – Scott Dixon, F, CAN
28. Minnesota – Petr Martinek, CZE
Don Shelburne, Head Coach, LA, MTL, 1975-1999
Arguably the greatest head coach in PHL history, Don Shelburne began his career with three consecutive Lewis Cup victories with the LA Wizards from 1976-1978. As the Wizards began to rebuild during the 1980s, Shelburne left Los Angeles, taking a job with the Montreal Royale. Under Shelburne’s guidance, the Royale also became a dynasty, winning three titles in the 1990s while playing in five Lewis Cup Finals. Shelburne retires as one of the winningest coaches of all time.
Vladimir Gaganov, F, CHI, 1979-1999
The greatest European player ever to play the game, Vladimir Gaganov certainly had one of the most dramatic backstories of any PHL player. Growing up in the Soviet Union, Gaganov’s father spent time in the Gulag and his family was poverty stricken. Still, Gaganov went on to become one of the brightest hockey stars in the Soviet system and turned in an incredible performance at the 1976 World Hockey Challenge at only 16 years of age. In 1979, with help from Chicago Shamrocks staff, Gaganov defected to Chicago and went on to play 20 years for the Shamrocks, leading them to the Lewis Cup in 1983 and 1994. Gaganov retires as the third all-time leading PHL scorer, with 1844 points.
Dwayne Ingram, D, EDM, WSH, 1980-1999
One of the most feared hitters in PHL history, Dwayne Ingram patrolled the Edmonton blueline for the better part of two decades, helping lead them to a Lewis Cup Finals appearance in 1993. Though suspensions and a few ugly incidents put somewhat of a black mark on the hard-nosed defender’s reputation, he is remembered fondly by Edmonton fans, who gave him a 15-minute standing ovation when he returned to Edmonton for the first time as a Washington General in 1999.
Harry Hayes, F, NS, MIL, 1983-1999
Born in Manchester, England, Harry Hayes was one of the first Brits to make a significant impact in the PHL. Hayes played for the Nova Scotia Claymores for ten seasons, playing a big role in their Lewis Cup Final run in 1987. In 1993, Hayes signed with the Milwaukee Choppers. Despite the Choppers’ struggles through the late ‘90s, Hayes was seen as a leader and a fan-favorite. With a degree in business, Hayes will now focus his time on entrepreneurial endeavors and has spoken frequently about his dream to someday attempt to bring big-league hockey back to Halifax.
St. Louis trades F Shawn Marchinski to Calgary in exchange for D Ali Leino.
Leino is on the move again as the Wranglers begin their rebuild. Marchinski hopes to be a key centerpiece after struggling in St. Louis.
Disappointed in his role in Philly, Mattsen demands a trade after just one season. Chicago picks him up with the hope he will serve as Gaganov’s replacement. The Redshirts get minor league MVP Kerrigan in return as well as a pick.
Denver trades F Alex Leblanc to Philadelphia in exchange for G Nathan Bowman.
With the acquisition of Ben Kerrigan, Bowman becomes expendable in Philly but will become Denver’s future in net. Feisty Leblanc will add grit and scoring up front for the Redshirts.
Kansas City trades F Blair Horton to Vancouver in exchange for D Brady Kyle.
In a cap move, the Twisters manage to also add a solid prospect in Kyle. Vancouver adds secondary scoring.
Toronto trades F Greg Parker to New Orleans in exchange for F Chad Mclean.
The Racers once again face major cap issues in 1999. Toronto begins the off-season by trading the horribly overpaid Parker to the Sound, a team needing to reach the salary floor.
Toronto trades F Alexei Yolkin to Denver in exchange for F Taylor Coldwell.
The Racers rid themselves of another albatross contract, sending the former Russian superstar to the Bulls for young, scrappy forward Coldwell.
Key Free Agents
Jared Baxter signs new 12-year deal with Philadelphia worth $9 Million/year.
Alexei Rolonov signs new 10-year deal with Dallas worth $8 Million/year.
Joe Murdock signs new 8-year deal with Toronto worth $7 Million/year.
Brendan Marlo signs new 6-year deal with Minnesota worth $7 Million/year.
JP Belanger signs new 7-year deal with Dallas worth $6 Million/year.
Shawn Marchinski signs new 6-year deal with Calgary worth $6 Million/year.
Lamar Jackson signs new 4-year deal with New York worth $5 Million/year.
Stuart Burns signs new 1-year deal with Toronto worth $4 Million/year.
Jonathan Adams (CGY) signs 3-year deal with Montreal worth $5 Million/year.
The hard-hitting star defenseman gives a huge boost to the defending champions’ blueline.
Trevor Ramsey (CAR) signs 2-year deal with Edmonton worth $1 Million/year.
Ramsey becomes the first player ever to play for both Alberta franchises.
JC Girard (MTL) signs 1-year deal with Kansas City worth $1.5 Million/year.
The 21-year veteran will play into his fourth decade with the hopes of winning one last ring.
Scott Whitmore (TOR) signs 3-year deal with Washington worth $4 Million/year.
Whitmore is released by the Racers, and will now face immense pressure in Washington after the Generals had to move key pieces to fit Whitmore under the cap.
The summer of 1999 began with three teams announcing new arenas. Milwaukee would finally move out of the 52-year-old Milwaukee Arena and in to a new 18,500-seat arena in the fall of 2001, with the St. Louis Spirits moving into a new arena as well the same year. The Seattle Grey Wolves also finally secured a new building to replace the 39-year-old Emerald Forum. The arena will be built in downtown Seattle and will open in the fall of 2002.
In coaching news, the Quebec Nationale fired head coach Jacques Colette, replacing him with former winger Dennis Lambert. Colette found a new job as the new coach of the Denver Bulls, who had fired Grant Dunlop after seven seasons behind the Bulls’ bench. Meanwhile, New Orleans fired longtime head coach Randy Kane and replaced him with minor league coach Garth Cullins. Kane had coached the Sound/Claymores franchise since 1977. Finally, Montreal replaced Don Shelburne with former Toronto Racers captain Todd Beirness. Beirness had been coaching the Racers’ minor league affiliate since his retirement, leading them to two championships during the ‘90s.
One of the biggest stories of the year in 1999 was the anticipated expansion announcement. Darryl Byrd would announce the two newest PHL cities on September 1, 1999. Representatives from Houston, Portland, Phoenix, Tampa, Atlanta, and Baltimore, as well as several important people from around the hockey world all gathered in Toronto for the final vote. “I can’t comment on the process itself until it is complete” said Byrd. “All I can say is we have some fine cities to choose from and some solid bids. We’ll just have to see what happens.”