The first ever NHL Entry Draft took place on June 5, 1963 in Montreal.
Prior to the draft the original six NHL teams each sponsored Junior “A” hockey teams across Canada, stocking these teams with prospects they had signed to binding contracts.
There were three types of contracts offered;
“A” Form – Simply committed a player to attend the Junior tryout without any commitment from the club
“B” Form – Gave the team the option to sign the player after seeing him in the tryout in return for a bonus payment.
“C” Form – Committed the players professional rights to the team until released or traded in return for a signing bonus payment.
In the first five years of the draft the Junior sponsorships still existed, therefore the only players being drafted were players that had not signed with any team up until that point.
Beginning with the NHL expansion in 1968 the Junior “A” sponsorship by NHL teams was disbanded and all players under the age of 20 were eligible to be chosen by any teams.
The first ever selection was Gary Monahan chosen as a 16 year old from the St. Michael’s College Juvenile team in the old THL.
Monahan was immediately assigned to the St. Michael’s Jr. B team and then spent the following three years developing with the Peterborough Pete’s of the OHA Junior A League.
Much has changed over the years to where teams can only select players who have reached their 18th birthday.
Many Marlboro minors have graduated to the Major Junior A and college ranks, only to be later drafted by NHL teams beginning with that initial draft.