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The Vancouver Canucks and general manager Pat Quinn court controversy during the sixth round of the NHL Entry Draft, when they select an 18-year-old rookie from the Soviet Union – Pavel Bure. Considerable fuss is made over Bure’s selection, as the record-setting rookie was being courted by a number of other teams (including the Detroit Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers), all of which were told he was ineligible for the draft for at least another year.
Several complaints will be filed, a number of irate Detroit representatives will storm the stage where the draft is taking place, and finally, in May of 1990, Bure’s draft will be deemed illegal by the NHL.
However, after an appeal by the Canucks, wherein a number of documents are produced proving the Russian right-winger’s eligibility, the decision will be overturned, and Bure will make his debut with the Canucks in 1990. He will go on to be the first Canuck to win the Calder Memorial Trophy (for Rookie of the Year), and eventually join the Canucks for the Stanley Cup Final in 1994, against the New York Rangers.
No mention is made of Bure’s drafting in any of Vancouver’s major newspapers.
IMAGE: Vancouver’s first hockey team, circa 1914. Image courtesy of the Vancouver Archives