The Story Of When Buffalo Drafted a Non-Existent Player

Have you ever watched the NHL draft and see who your favorite team drafted in the 7th round and ask yourself, "Who on Earth is that?" Well, The Buffalo Sabres brought this to a whole new level in 1974 by drafting a player who did not actually exist.

In honor of April 1st, let's take a look at the greatest prank in hockey, and maybe in all of sports. Although it was not actually on April 1st, in 1974, The Buffalo Sabres were in the middle of making their picks in the annual NHL entry draft.

Back then, the NHL draft was just a conference call between the general managers as they took turns picking players for their teams. The draft would last hours on end, going well over nine rounds of picks until every general manager was satisfied with their selections. This process would grow old and frustrating, especially for George Imlach.

Buffalo GM, George Imlach was on the clock in the 11th round with the 183rd pick when he decided to make this draft a little bit more interesting. He made history by selecting centerman Taro Tsujimoto from the Tokyo Katanas out of the Japanese Ice Hockey League.


This pick was followed by ridicule and confusion for the risky selection out of a league that nobody has ever heard of. The pick was recorded in the books, and Tsujimoto was assigned a number and was invited to training camp, where a stall was made in the locker room for the mysterious Japanese prospect.

To the surprise of a large number of hockey fans around the world, Taro Tsujimoto did not report to camp and, the Sabres Organization had to come clean about the prank.

Forty-five years later, the legend of Taro Tsujimoto still lives on as one of the greatest pranks ever pulled.

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