Brad Selwood was a successful professional hockey player in the 1970s who spent most of his career with the World Hockey Association’s New England Whalers. The 10th overall pick in the 1968 NHL Draft, he played parts of three seasons in the NHL and was named to Team Canada for the 1974 Summit Series. Selwood won the Memorial Cup with the Niagara Falls Flyers and was an award-winning coach later in life.
Selwood was born in Leamington on March 18, 1948. He moved to Essex at the age of 10, where he attended Essex District High School.
Selwood was a successful multisport athlete in his youth. He played offensive end for the school’s football team in Grade 9 and forward for its hockey team in Grades 10 and 11. Outside of school, Selwood won the Ontario Midget Championship as a baseball player in the Essex Minor system. He also played catcher for the Essex Juniors in the Essex County League.
Of course, Selwood also played hockey in the Leamington and Essex Minor systems. He began to play Juvenile travel hockey in Leamington under coach Bill Sanford at the age of 16. In 1965-66, Leamington was crowned Ontario Junior “A” Champion after defeating Dorset Park in the finals. Selwood played alongside future NHLer Rander Manery on that team.
At the age of 18, Selwood decided to concentrate on hockey fulltime. He moved up to the Junior B St. Thomas Barons and reached the Ontario finals. The following season, he graduated to the Junior A Niagara Falls Flyers, coached at the time by Paul Emms and home to Tom Webster, Phil Myre, and Rick Ley. With the Flyers, Selwood defeated future NHLer Walt Tkachuk’s Kitchener Rangers to win the league championship.
Selwood was named a Second-Team All-Star and Niagara Falls went on to win the Memorial Cup, becoming Canadian Champions. Selwood’s team defeated the Estevan Bruins in the finals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Selwood in the first round, 10th overall, in the 1968 NHL Amateur Draft. He spent the ’68-69 season with Tulsa in the Central Hockey League, where he won the Northern Division Regular Season Championship playing under coach John McLellan. The following season, Selwood moved to the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks. He played under Joe Crozier and alongside Marc Reaume as he won the league’s Rookie of the Year award.
In 1970-71, Selwood was called up to the full Toronto Maple Leafs Roster midseason. He managed 12 points in 28 games. He remained with the Leafs for the full ’71-72 season, during which he reached the quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and shared the ice with names like Johnny Bower, Dave Keon, Ron Ellis, Norm Ullman, and Paul Henderson.
Selwood joined many NHL players in defecting to the newly formed World Hockey Association ahead of the ’72-73 season. He signed for the New England Whalers, with which he won the AVCO Cup and league championship in his first season. The Whalers were Collins’ third championship team in six years. He would spend seven seasons in all with the Whalers, reaching three playoff finals and playing in three All-Star Games. He was twice named a Second-Team All-Star and once a Third-Team All-Star.
In 1974, Selwood was named to Team Canada for the Summit Series against Russia. The roster also included players like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Frank Mahovlich, Paul Henderson, and Gerry Cheevers. Unfortunately, Russia defeated Canada 4-1-3 in the series.
Selwood left New England after the 1978-79 season, at which point he returned to the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings. He spent ’80-81 in the CHL, splitting the season between Houston and Fort Worth, and part of ’81-82 in the AHL with New Haven. He left midway through his final season as a player to take a job as an Assistant Coach with the Los Angeles Kings. He stayed in the role until the end of the ’82-83 season.
Selwood retired from hockey with 47 points in 169 career NHL games. He had 48 goals and 155 assists for 203 points in 494 WHA contests.
Following his playing days, Selwood built a successful coaching career. He returned to Thornhill, Ontario in 1984, where he took a job as a car salesman. From then until ’93, Selwood coached Pee Wee, Bantam, Midget, and Juvenile teams in Thornhill Minor Hockey. His strong leadership earned him a position with the Thornhill Islanders, a Tier-Two Junior A club. He spent three seasons at that level and helped the Islanders advance to the finals in his first year and the semifinals in his final two. He won back-to-back Coach of the Year honours in his first two seasons.
Selwood coached the Junior A London Knights in ’96-97 then was Coach and General Manager with the Tier-Two Junior A Aurora Tigers for three seasons. He filled both roles with the Newmarket Hurricanes, who played at the same level, in 2000-01. All in all, Selwood received five Coach of the Year awards and many of his players won NCAA Division I hockey scholarships.
Selwood also coached baseball between 1984 and ’99 with clubs in Thornhill and Leaside. His Thornhill teams won championships in nine consecutive seasons.
He now resides in Sharon, Ontario, north of Newmarket.