Monday, March 5, 2018

2002 Off-season

2002 Entry Draft

The 2002 PHL draft was projected to be the strongest draft class since the famous 1986 draft. Edmonton won the draft lottery and predictably selected big Kris Nazarenko first overall. Nazarenko was predicted to be unlike any other player in league history with an unprecedented mix of size and skill. The 6’3”, 219-pound center led the entire Canadian Junior Hockey Association in scoring two years in a row, leading his hometown Moose Jaw Moose to a national championship. With the second pick, Cleveland selected talented American defenseman Ian Hunter, who had committed to Notre Dame but said he would play for the Cosmos right away if given the opportunity. Just before the third selection, Darryl Byrd announced that the Atlanta Copperheads had acquired the third pick from Washington in exchange for veterans Marc Brunelle and Jordan O’Reilly. The Copperheads used the third pick to take Jason Ferland, a troubled but talented winger from Moncton. Denver took the first Russian, Nikolai Kronin, while Winnipeg rounded out the top five with the selection of Jamie Moore, whose father, Austin Moore, was a legendary junior coach. Other interesting picks included Atlanta pick Jody Graves, the great-grandson of former Philadelphia Redshirt Donald Graves, and Spirits pick Tobias Grunberg, who was predicted to be the greatest German-born player of all time.

1.      Edmonton – Kris Nazarenko, F, CAN
2.      Cleveland – Ian Hunter, D, USA
3.      Atlanta (From Washington) – Jason Ferland, F, CAN
4.      Denver – Nikolai Kronin, D, RUS
5.      Winnipeg – Jamie Moore, F, CAN
6.      Toronto – Sean MacDonald, D, CAN
7.      Portland – Daniel Boivre, G, CAN
8.      Atlanta – Jody Graves, D, CAN
9.      Calgary – Kyle Logan, D, CAN
10.   Quebec – Saku Vertainen, G, FIN
11.   St. Louis – Tobias Grunberg, F, GER
12.   Carolina - Matt Wells, D, CAN
13.   Long Island – Nathan Webb, D, CAN
14.   Boston (From Oakland) – Jeffery Simpkins, F, USA
15.   New Orleans – Ryan Aldridge, D, CAN
16.   New York – Todd Morgan, F, CAN
17.   Detroit – Brent Mitchell, F, CAN
18.   Los Angeles – Mats Jonasson, D, SWE
19.   Vancouver – Taylor Bennett, F, CAN
20.   Boston – Brayden McPherson, D, CAN
21.   Milwaukee – Luke Wilkerson, F, GB
22.   Chicago – Kari Nurminen, G, FIN
23.   Pittsburgh - Ryan Osborne, F, USA
24.   Dallas – Evgeni Tatarov, F, RUS
25.   Montreal – Pascal Dubois, D, CAN
26.   Miami – Thomas Norberg, D, SWE
27.   Philadelphia – Andrei Ilyukhin, F, RUS
28.   Seattle – Roman Novatny, F, CZE
29.   Kansas City – Austin Harvey, F, USA
30.   Minnesota – Dylan Schalcher, F, SWZ

Notable Retirements:

Theo Sprouse, D, LI, CHI, MIA, 1982-2002
It didn’t take long for Theo Sprouse to become one of the Concorde’s most dynamic players with his offensive ability and physical presence. Sprouse helped Long Island to the Lewis Cup finals twice in the 80s in 1984 and ’88. In 1990, Sprouse played a big role in bringing the Lewis Cup to Long Island. In 1992, Sprouse left Long Island for Chicago, where he won his second cup in 1994. In 1998, Sprouse signed with Miami, where he retired.

Ted McDougall, F, BOS, LI, CHI, LA, 1985-2002
The pride of Prince Edward Island, Ted McDougall was the Island’s first established player to play in the PHL. Drafted by Boston, McDougall eventually arrived in Long Island just in time to win the Lewis Cup with the Concordes in 1990. McDougall nearly won a second cup in 1995 as a member of the Chicago Shamrocks when they lost to Montreal. McDougall finished his career in Los Angeles, where he spent his final two seasons.

Gustav Janssen, D, DET, NYC, 1982-2002
Janssen served as a steady defenseman for the Detroit Mustangs for twelve years. When the Mustangs fell on hard times in the 1990s, Janssen was dealt to the New York Civics in 1994, where he won his first and only Lewis Cup in 1997. Janssen continued to play a veteran role for the Civics until 2002.

Graham Boswell, F, CHI, QUE, MIL, 1982-2002
Though Boswell was mostly known as a physical role player throughout his career, but he was also known for scoring one of the most famous goals in PHL history, known by many simply as “The Goal”. In 1983, Boswell scored the overtime winner in game seven of the Lewis Cup Finals against Pittsburgh, giving Chicago their first cup since 1955. Boswell went on to play 20 seasons with Chicago, Quebec, and one final season in Milwaukee.

Trevor Ramsey, F, CGY, MTL, CAR, EDM, BOS, 1983-2002
A dependable two-way player, Trevor Ramsey played a big role in two of Montreal’s three cups in the 90s. Ramsey also retires as one of the most travelled PHLers, having played for five franchises.

Notable Trades

Washington trades 1st-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for F Marc Brunelle and D Jordan O’Reilly.
The Generals get two top-tier players in an effort to return to contention, while the Copperheads are now able to draft two key building blocks in Jason Ferland and Jody Graves.

Oakland trades 1st round pick and F Luca Schober to Boston in exchange for G Kevin Washer.
In an attempt to fill out their roster and continue to build for the future, the Bulldogs part with their star goaltender, picking up a solid prospect and a pick while Oakland hopes to return to the playoffs.

Long Island trades F Kim Brodie to Philadelphia in exchange for F Alexei Ivanov.
Former all-star Brodie will chase his first title in the twilight of his career, while the Concordes add a solid prospect.

Key Free Agents

F Brad McNair signs new 10-year deal with New Orleans worth $12 Million/year.
D Matt Andersson signs new 8-year deal with Boston worth $10 Million/year.
F Jay Phoenix signs new 8-year deal with Quebec worth $6 Million/year.
F Brandon Kelso signs new 7-year deal with Edmonton worth $6 Million/year.
F Ryan Woods signs new 4-year deal with Miami worth $4 Million/year.
G Blair Kelsey signs new 3-year deal with Cleveland worth $4 Million/year.


F Sergei Vetrov (MTL) signs 5-year deal with Miami worth $10 Million/year.
Vincent Ducharme’s former right-hand man will now try to work similar magic alongside Eric Moon in Florida.

F Ilya Sakharov (STL) signs 6-year deal with Los Angeles worth $9 Million/year.
Sakharov is the latest star to leave the Spirits, bringing natural scoring ability to LA.

F Brendan Bittner (PIT) signs 6-year deal with Milwaukee worth $8.5 Million/year.
The Choppers add more size up front with the 6’4” 221 lb Bittner.
F Viktor Skogg (LA) signs 2-year deal with Montreal worth $8 Million/year.
With the Sakharov signing, the Wizards lack cap room to re-sign their aging captain. Royale hope Skogg will replace offense lost from Vetrov.

D Jonathan Adams (MTL) signs 2-year deal with Vancouver worth $4 Million/year.
Hard-hitting Kamloops native hopes to end his career close to home after 16 seasons between Calgary and Montreal.

G Todd Waddell (SEA) signs 5-year deal with Vancouver worth $3 Million/year.
Grey Wolves backup finally gets opportunity as a starter with the rival Bighorns.


The 2002 off-season kicked off with big news in Toronto. After a dismal finish to the season, the team fired Head Coach Bob Lacey, leading to much speculation of who his replacement would be. That speculation increased just prior to the draft when GM Bobby Kitchen was also dismissed. Both searches ended on June 28, when former Racers enforcer Rex Hull was named the team’s new Head Coach and General Manager. Hull was one of the most popular players ever to wear the double blue, spending 18 seasons with the Racers from 1978 to 1996 and still holds the team’s all-time record for penalty minutes.

In other coaching news, the Washington Generals fired head coach Doug Sharp, replacing him with former Bulldogs coach Gary Shantz, while 70-year-old David Zimmer decided to step aside as the Miami Stingrays head coach to focus on the GM duties. Zimmer hired former PHL star and successful junior coach Dennis Lambert as the new Stingrays Head Coach.

After the success of the 2001 Holiday Classic, the league announced there would be a second one in December, 2002. This one would take place at Empire Stadium in New York City and would feature the New York Civics and the Montreal Royale. “The game last year was a big hit with the players and fans” said a league spokesperson. “It makes sense to make it an annual event.” Speaking of events, the 2004 World Hockey Challenge will be held in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm beat out Helsinki, London, and Montreal for hosting rights.

With the PHL’s uniform deal with SporTech set to expire in 2004, several sports equipment companies were lining up to become the exclusive provider of PHL game uniforms. SporTech, desperate to make up for losing their PBL deal, made a bid to renew the contract, while Canadian-based Windsor Hockey also made a strong bid. Windsor Hockey, which began as a small stick factory in Nova Scotia in 1891, had grown to become one of the biggest equipment brands in the sport, now providing skates, gloves, and helmets, as well as sticks to nearly 30 percent of PHL players. Windsor was also the exclusive equipment provider for the Canadian Junior leagues, and would become the uniform provider for international hockey beginning in 2003. Finally, one of the biggest sporting equipment giants in the world, Duke Sports, made a bid for the uniforms. Duke pledged to “reinvent” the hockey uniform while maintaining the Aesthetic traditions. Duke had perhaps the most impressive pedigree of the three companies, providing equipment and uniforms for everything ranging from the Olympics to College Football for almost 100 years.

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