January 03, 2016

Brian Hill

Brian Hill got off to a good start in his NHL career. He scored a goal in his very first NHL game. The problem was he played another 18 games in that 1979-80 season and never scored again.

Hill was a second round draft pick (31st overall) of the Atlanta Flames back in 1977. He had just finished a 50 goal season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. He would play two seasons of pro with Tulsa of the Central Hockey League before playing with the Whalers, slowly emerging as a good scorer at that level.

The Whalers claimed Hill in the 1979 expansion draft after Atlanta left him unprotected. They had long been interested in Hill as they, too, had drafted him back in 1977 (43rd overall) in the World Hockey Association Draft. Finally they had their man.

But after that opening game Hill would only pick up a single assist the rest of the season. Hill finished the 1979-80 season with the Whalers AHL farm team in Springfield.

He opted not to return to the busses of the minor leagues and headed overseas to Europe. After a season in Germany he settled his family in Austria where he played for many years. He helped Feldkirch win three consecutive league championships in the mid-1980s. He even became a citizen and twice represented Austria at the World Championships.

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