On June 9th, 1970 the Vancouver Canucks took their first official step for forming a team by participating in the 1970 Expansion Draft and then, on June 11th, the Amateur Draft with the Buffalo Sabres. While the Sabres won the first pick in both the Expansion and Amateur Drafts, the Canucks cleaned up nicely.
Picking second overall in the Expansion Draft, the Canucks selected defenseman Gary Doak of the Boston Bruins after the Sabres selected Tom Webster of the Bruins. Doak played 83 games for the Vancouver Canucks over two seasons and accrued 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 total points, and 135 PIM. Not exactly a star two way defenseman, but certainly contributed in a big way towards the hard hitting style of play the 1970s saw out on the ice. In addition to the Bruins and Canucks, Doak saw the ice with the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. Webster went on to play for the Red Wings, California Golden Seals, and a lengthy stint in the WHA for the Hartford Whalers and finished his career with 102 NHL games with 33 goals, 42 assists and 352 WHA games with 220 goals, 205 assists. Webster then followed it up with an coaching career with the Rangers and LA Kings.
Two days later, the teams reconvened to select players in the Amateur Draft. Once again, the Vancouver Canucks picked second to the Sabres. Going second overall was current Florida Panthers GM, defensemen Dale Tallon. Other players selected by the Canucks?
Unfortunately, both teams have yet to see the Stanley Cup hoisted in their cities. Is it a curse of the 1970’s Expansion? Was it too soon after the 1967 Expansion? All Stars have come through both of those cities, and paved the way for those who don the sweaters today. These groups of men started the spirit and perserverance that the two teams still embody today.
In two weeks, the Vancouver Canucks will once again participate in a draft and will find themselves selecting a young player to carry on the Canuck tradition. Who will the Vancouver Canucks pick? Only time will tell.