Tracers: The First Universal Draft

Lowetide
April 19 2011 05:16PM

Nowadays, NHL teams use measured language for everything. It was probably inevitable that prepared releases and orchestrated media conferences would win the day, but 40 years ago the quotes from NHL team employees were a lot more fun. Example: the 1969 Amateur Draft--the first universal draft.

When the sponsorship era of NHL history ended (for the most part with 1948 born players) expansion teams had a full swing at the best available amateurs. 1969 saw a large number of exceptional talents available, and the Montreal Canadiens plucked the two best players from Quebec as part of a special rule that gave them the first two selections in any draft should a player or two of high quality from that province have a French Canadian father (hey, I'm not making this up!).

With that advantage, Montreal scored wingers Reggie Houle and Marc Tardif before any other team had a chance to talk out loud. Wayne Overland of the Edmonton Journal reported the story on June 12, 1969 in an article entitled"Why Canadiens Dominate the NHL."

Among the quotes that I found to be most interesting:

  • Del Wilson, Montreal's director of player personnel: "We got 10 of our top 33. We were hoping to fluke out and get maybe 4."
  • Again Wilson: "(Bobby) Clarke would have been Los Angeles' best player. He could be Philadelphia's leading scorer this year. Philadelphia was lucky to get him. They don't deserve it."
  • Wilson again: "Clarke checks so well the other team can't get out of its own end when he's on the ice. He plays 45 minutes a game, how strong is that?" (this was in response to critical comments about Clarke's checking ability and as a diabetic he might not be strong enough).

Clarke did indeed have a tremendous career and Wilson's quotes stand up over time. Wouldn't the NHL draft be more entertaining if (say) the Detroit Red Wings openly questioned selections or the commentators on tsn's broadcasts were former scouts with some strong opinions?

tsn does a great job on just about everything they do, but I can't help but feel it might be an idea to give Pierre McGuire time off around the draft. Hire a crusty old scout with a potty mouth and no fear. Hire a modern Del Wilson.

Ratings would skyrocket.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 null
April 19 2011, 05:23PM
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FIST!!!

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#2 Nail Yakupov
April 19 2011, 05:26PM
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Yeehaw!

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#3 BadSeed
April 19 2011, 05:53PM
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Lowetide: I think Wayne Overland would be a great guest for your show. Highly entertaining & informed guy.

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#4 Dutchscooter
April 19 2011, 06:02PM
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'tsn does a great job on just about everything they do, but I can't help but feel it might be an idea to give Pierre McGuire time off around the draft.'

How about sending McGuire to the showers permanently?

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#5 Mr. Pederson
April 19 2011, 06:03PM
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If Pierre takes time off at the draft, how are we going to know who the MONSTER(!!!) performers are?

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Give Pierre the motormouth some time off? He should take a vaca....permanently. Stop treating the fans like idiots who dont know the game. God he is SO FREAKIN ANNOYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Dutchscooter wrote:

'tsn does a great job on just about everything they do, but I can't help but feel it might be an idea to give Pierre McGuire time off around the draft.'

How about sending McGuire to the showers permanently?

I would prop this more than once if they would let me.

C'mon now Wanye, he who is now all powerful can surely come up with a way to give multiple props.

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#8 a lg dubl dubl
April 19 2011, 06:41PM
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Ive always wondered if Mcguire uses armour all on his head because ive never seen a dome shine like that on tv before, and yes it would be UBER COOL if he wasnt part of draft day.

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#9 Jonathan Willis
April 19 2011, 06:58PM
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Oh, Mcguire's got some strong opinions. It's just been a few years since he's accused anyone of 'going of the reservation.'

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#10 stevezie
April 19 2011, 07:06PM
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I remember McGuire ripped the Habs for taking price, and considering how Halak turned out he still has an argument, though not a great one.

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#11 Wäx Män Riley
April 19 2011, 07:27PM
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Ummm.... GO BLACKHAWKS!

That is all.

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#12 René Guerra
April 19 2011, 08:08PM
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If that article by Wayne Overland is exemplary of his work, the Journal has a long way to go to return to those standards.

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#13 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 19 2011, 10:06PM
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McGuire is an idiot, he let out a smug laugh when it was suggested Penner would land a 1st rounder.

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#14 buttermilk buscuits
April 19 2011, 10:28PM
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McGuire did suggest that teams as early as 12th in the draft pick Parise..

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#15 Ryan14
April 20 2011, 12:50AM
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buttermilk buscuits wrote:

McGuire did suggest that teams as early as 12th in the draft pick Parise..

And O'Marra..

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#16 Oilcruzer
April 20 2011, 01:20AM
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MacKenzie is great on draft day. A sponge.

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#17 Aitch
April 20 2011, 06:44AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Well, I think there are a lot of current Kings fans that would tell you he's a lot smarter than Dean Lombardi for thinking that way.

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#18 fuck off
April 20 2011, 06:57AM
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Props this Article!

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