By PHIL JOHNSON Staff Writer
The National Lacrosse League, born a little more than a month ago, is in the midst of its greatest growth spurt today as the six-member teams sort out 271 players at the league’s inaugural player draft in Montreal. In a situation unique in professional sports, the league assigned eight agents under the direction of Toronto wyer Morley Kells to sign available players.
Today’s raft will produce the skeleton rosters of Toronto Tomahawks, Syracuse Stingers, Philadelphia Wings, Iontreal Quebecois, Maryland Arrows and Rochester Griffins. Two goaltender drafts will be held in addition to the regular player draft. In the first goalie draft, the order of selection will be Montreal, Syracuse, Philadelphia. Toronto, Rochester and Maryland with the team drafting sixth also getting the seventh pick. There will be only two selections for each team in each of the goalie drafts.
The second chance for goalies has Toronto picking first, followed by Philadelphia, Montreal, Maryland, Rochester and Syracuse. Tomahawks’ general manager Jim Bishop was content with his club’s position in the goalie drafts and claimed to be “not unhappy” with selecting last in the regular draft. Rochester gets the first regular pick with Montreal, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Maryland and’Toronto following suit. “We have the advantage of drafting the sixth and seventh playeis, so we aren’t in had shape at all,” Bishop said from his Ritz-Carlton Hotel headquarters last night.
Among the top picks in the regular draft will be forwards Kevin Parsons and Gaylord Powless from the Coquitlam Adanacs, centre Paul Suggate of Brantford Warriors, winger John Davis and defenceman Carm Collins, both from Peterborough Lakers. Powless. a Mohawk Indian, played with Bishop’s Detroit team in the ill-fated National Lacrosse Association in 1968. It’s unlikely he’ll be in a Tomahawk uniform in the NLL. He’ll probably be selected before the Tomahawks get to select and it could be, despite his boxla prowess, that Powless may not fit into Toronto’s plans. “We’re going to try developing a team along the lines of the Green Gaels, Oshawa juniors, and that means run, run and run,” said Bishop. It could also mean the Tomahawks will be going after young, strong legs. Bishop coached the Green Gaels to seven straight national junior titles from 1963-69.
NLL NOTES – Jack Gibson, coach of Peterborough Lakers and former Lakers goalie Pat Baker, rated top net guardian in Canada, are on the management team with Maryland Arrows, Gibson as team manager and Baker as assistant coach . . . Kells is general manager of Rochester Griffins . . . Tomahawks will open the season and the NLL schedule in Montreal May 15 . . . each team will play 40 games .- . Professional tryout camp will be held April 6-7 in a U.S city to be named . . . The U.S. draft will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 8.