1974: The NHL begins holding the 1974 Amateur Draft via conference call from the league offices in Montreal. They attempt to do it in secret because the rival World Hockey Association is looking for talent too and the NHL fears poaching. However, the NHL takes a page out of the WHA’s book and allows underage players to be signed for the first time. Here are the Boston Bruins‘ selections from that draft and more information about each player.
Don Larway (18th overall): Larway was also selected third overall by the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers and he elected to go to the WHA, becoming a part of the Houston Aeros. He played 324 games in his career, but not a single one was in the NHL.
Mark Howe (25th overall): Howe played for the Aeros because he wanted to be on a team with his brother Marty and his dad Gordie. The Howe trio moved to the New England Whalers in 1977 and, when the NHL picked four WHA teams to merge into the league, the new-look Hartford Whalers had the Howe trio on the roster for one more year. It is because of Howe that the NHL redesigned its nets after he collided with the sharp center part of the net and cut a five-inch gash in his leg. He suffered a setback after that injury and was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He flourished as a Flyer and was often a finalist for the Norris Trophy until knee problems cut into his productivity. The Flyers let him go to the Detroit Red Wings in 1991 so he could try to get the Stanley Cup and Detroit fans loved it because of the Howe heritage. While he didn’t win the Cup as a player–he retired in 1995–he has four now because he remained part of the Red Wings organization after retiring. He is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame. (PS: May 28 is also his birthday.)
Peter Sturgeon (36th overall): Sturgeon played six NHL games in his career, all with the Colorado Rockies. Mostly he played for AHL, IHL and CHL teams.
Tom Edur (54th overall): After spending three seasons in the WHA, he joined the NHL, also going to the Rockies. But after two seasons, one in Pittsburgh along with the one in Denver, Edur decided to devote his life to being a Jehovah’s Witness. The Penguins offered him a contract that would let him skip Sunday games, but he refused, saying that he couldn’t devote just one day a week to being a Witness. The Edmonton Oilers picked him 12th overall in the 1979 Expansion Draft, but that was about a year after his decision and he refused that offer too.
Bill Reed (72nd overall): Reed decided to go the WHA route, playing a season with the Michigan Stags–which relocated to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Blades midseason–and another with the Calgary Cowboys.
Jamie Bateman (90th overall): Bateman also went WHA and spent two seasons with the San Diego Mariners.
Bill Best (108th overall): Not much information is known about Best at all.
Ray Maluta (126th overall): Also selected 80th overall by the San Diego Mariners in 1974, Maluta played 25 NHL games, all with Boston, and spent a lot of time with the AHL Rochester Americans. After retiring, he was the executive general manager at the Sports Centre at MCC in Brighton, New York from 1999 until 2012. In 2007, he became the coach of the U.S. national sledge hockey team, leading them to a bronze in 2008 and a gold in 2009 at the Paralympic Committee World Championship.
Daryl Drader (143rd overall): Not much information is known about Drader at all.
Pete Roberts (160th overall): Not much information is known about Roberts at all.
Peter Waselovich (175th overall): Not much information is known about Waselovich at all.
Also in this draft, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, Punch Imlach, gets bored with the conference call format and, as a joke, he selects a young man named Taro Tsujimoto from the Tokyo Katanas with the 183rd overall pick. Of course, being that information simply didn’t travel as fast in 1974, it took a little while for people to realize Tsujimoto wasn’t real. The NHL validated the selection of Tsujimoto, but eventually Imlach ‘fessed up and said it was all a joke.
Click here to read more Today in Boston Bruins History articles.