Ice Hockey Wiki

The WHA Entry Draft was the entry draft for the World Hockey Association, and was held annually between 1973 and 1977. The fledgling WHA had some trouble stocking their teams, and predictably, many of the players drafted by WHA teams never reported, preferring instead to play in the NHL. In 1975, for example, only three of the fifteen first-round picks ever played a game in the rebel league. Other times players would only be lured with extravagant paycheques, such as the $1.3 million contract Pat Price signed with the Vancouver Blazers in 1974.

First Overall Draft Picks

Year Player Position Amateur Club Pro Team
1973 Bob Neely Defenceman Peterborough (OHA) Chicago Cougars
1974 Pat Price Defenceman Saskatoon (WCHL) Vancouver Blazers
1975 Claude Larose Forward Sherbrooke (QMJHL) Cincinnati Stingers
1976 Blair Chapman Forward Saskatoon (WCHL) Edmonton Oilers
1977 Scott Campbell Defenceman London (OHA) Houston Aeros

Of the five first overall draft picks selected in the WHA Amateur Draft, Bob Neely and Blair Chapman never reported to the league. Pat Price was an expensive flop who defaulted to the New York Islanders after only one year in Vancouver. Only Scott Campbell and Claude Larose had reasonably active and prosperous WHA careers.

The WHA draft was discontinued in 1977 as the league decided to attempt to directly sign young hockey players as free agents in an effort to lure them away from the lower salaries in the NHL.