Habs pick a Japanese player

There’s an interesting draft story from the mid-1970s that involve former Habs general manager Punch Imlach.

Even a fake player has a hockey card nowadays.

Said to be upset by the length of the 1974 draft (it was at least 13 rounds at the time), and how slow it was (it was done by telephone), Imlach decided to have some fun. So in the 11th round, with 183rd pick, Imlach chose Taro Tsujimoto from the Tokyo Katanas of the Japanese Hockey League.

There was only one problem: the player didn’t exist. It was all a joke.

But the Montreal connection doesn’t end there. Eighteen years later, in 1992, the Habs drafted defenceman Hiroyuki Miura from Japan in the 11th round (260th overall). He is the first ever Japanese player to be drafted into the NHL.

Miura never played in the NHL, but he did play at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He had no points, four penalty minutes and was a minus-three as Japan finished 13th.

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