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World Hockey Association (WHA) Drafts

By Patrick Mondout

The World Hockey Association (WHA) was a professional ice hockey league that operated in North America from 1972 to 1979. The league held annual amateur drafts from 1973 to 1977.

The first player draft was held in Anaheim, California on February 12, 1972. The names of some 2500 players were made available to the franchises by the WHA, but the Minnesota Fighting Saints stunned the other teams by taking someone not even on the list first overall - 20 year old Olympian Henry Boucha. Said Saints general manager Glen Sonmer, "Nobody we could have drafted could have more of an impact than this kid. He's the greatest player ever in Minnesota and he's going to be a pro superstar." Minnesota wasn't finished making questionable choices. They drafted NFL players Jim Carter of the Packers and Noel Jenke of the Vikings as well as the then-current governor of the state!

We have these WHA drafts by year: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977

The WHA held a special draft in late 1971 to determine which of their franchises would have exclusive negotiating rights to professional players from existing leagues. Each team was allowed to select four players. (Players not selected were available at the first player draft mentioned above.) Here are the initial 1971 selections:

Barry Gibbs Minnesota (NHL)
Jim Harrison Toronto (NHL)
Dale Hoganson Montreal (NHL)
Jack Norris Seattle (WHL)
Stan Mikita Chicago (NHL)
Jerry Korab Chicago (NHL)
Jim McKenny Toronto (NHL)
Gary Smith Chicago (NHL)
Guy Trottier Toronto (NHL)
Andre Hinse Phoenix (WHL)
Larry Lund Phoenix (WHL)
Wayne Rutledge Denver (WHL)
Norm Ullman Toronto (NHL)
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia (NHL)
Bruce MacGregor New York (NHL)
Phil Myre Montreal (NHL)
Ken Dryden Montreal (NHL)
Gilbert Perrault Buffalo (NHL)
Matt Ravlich Detroit (NHL)
Steve Sutherland Philadelphia (IHL)
Bernie Parent Philadelphia (NHL)
Jude Drouin Minnesota (NHL)
Derek Sanderson Boston (NHL)
Bill White Chicago (NHL)
Peter Mahovlich Montreal (NHL)
Mike Curran U.S. Olympic Team
Bill Goldsworthy Minnesota (NHL)
Dale Tallon Vancouver (NHL)
Bobby Sheehan California (NHL)
Eddie Johnston Boston (NHL)
Rick Ley Toronto (NHL)
Larry Pleau Montreal (NHL)
Gerry Desjardins Chicago (NHL)
Dave Gardne Toronto (Junior)
Steve Shutt Toronto (Junior)
Billy Harris Toronto (Junior)
Doug Favell Philadelphia (NHL)
Dave Keon Toronto (NHL)
Brad Park New York (NHL)
Eddie Shack Buffalo (NHL)
Gilles Villemure New York (NHL)
Guy Lapointe Montreal (NHL)
Jacques Lemaire Montreal (NHL)
John McKenzie Boston (NHL)
Bobby Hull Chicago (NHL)
Ted Green Boston (NHL)
Ted Irving New York (NHL)
Ernie Wakely St. Louis (NHL)

WHA Bibliography
The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association by Ed Willes
The Complete Historical and Statistical Reference to the World Hockey Association by Scott Adam Surgent
WHA Pro Hockey '75 - '76 by Dan Proudfoot
WHA Media Guides (each team published one each year)

These and many other WHA items can be found at eBay - check our links on the far right of this page!

Share Your Memories!

We have a WHA Forum! Our sites have always been by you and about you. If you check our TV Forums or our Technology & Science forums, you'll find literally thousands of messages from fans of 1970s TV shows, survivors of hurricanes or aircraft accidents, etc. from all over the world sharing their memories, asking questions, making comments. Our baseball section is new, but don't let that stop you from sharing your memories of WHA games you saw, now-forgotten stadiums, etc. Of course you can also ask questions, post trivia, or just read what others are saying.

--Patrick Mondout


Henry Boucha was an unlikely choice as the #1 overall selection of the first WHA draft. Find other O-Pee-Chee and Topps cards at eBay (see links below).

WHA Collectibles!
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WHA O-Pee-Chee cards!
WHA Programs & Media Guides!
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