WHA Amateur Draft

The WHA Entry Draft was the entry draft for the World Hockey Association. The professional league operated from 1972 to 1979, but only held its annual draft from 1973 through 1977.

The fledgling WHA had some trouble stocking their teams, with many of the players drafted by WHA teams never reporting, preferring instead to play in the long established National Hockey League. In 1975, for example, only three of the fifteen first-round picks ever played a game in the new league. Other players would only be lured with extravagant paycheques, such as the $1.3 million ($6.6 million today) contract Pat Price signed with the Vancouver Blazers in 1974.

First overall picks

YearPlayerPositionAmateur ClubPro Team
1973Bob NeelyDefencemanPeterborough (OHA)Chicago Cougars
1974Pat PriceDefencemanSaskatoon (WCHL)Vancouver Blazers
1975Claude LaroseForwardSherbrooke (QMJHL)Cincinnati Stingers
1976Blair ChapmanForwardSaskatoon (WCHL)Edmonton Oilers
1977Scott CampbellDefencemanLondon (OMJHL)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, drafted after a 95-point season as a defenceman in junior hockey, was considered an expensive flop, though he was drafted by the New York Islanders after only one year in Vancouver and went on to a 13-year career in the NHL. 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.

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