After scoring just 12 goals in 102 regular season games over two years as a junior with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Henry Taylor became a pro sniper with the Johnstown Jets in his rookie NAHL season. The U.S. born player from Oakland, California was a deep draft pick by the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA and was undrafted to the NHL. His pro career was successful but fleeting, not lasting a full decade.
Henry Taylor – NAHL
Taylor played two years in the North American Hockey League, 1975-76 and 1976-77. Both years were spent with the Johnstown Jets. His rookie year was exceptional. His numbers dropped in his sophomore season but it was still a respectable year on a depleted Johnstown team.
Over 69 regular season games in 1975-76, Henry scored 50 and assisted on 43 for 93 points. He led the Jets in goals and points and was named NAHL Rookie of the Year. Overall in the league, he tied for sixth in goal scoring with Robbie Neale. Neale split his season between the Cape Codders and Erie Blades.
The Jets places first in the five team West Division and second overall in the ten team league. Johnstown reached the Lockhart Cup semi-finals before falling to the Philadelphia Firebirds in five games. Game five was an offensive affair with the Firebirds winning 14-10.
In his second season with the Jets, Taylor scored 42 and assisted on 25 for 67 points over 73 regular season games. He led the team in goal scoring and tied for sixth for the league in that department with Mike Zuke of the Mohawk Valley Comets. Johnstown finished seventh of eighth in the NAHL, ahead of just the Beauce Jaros. Beauce played just 30 games before folding midseason. The Jets reached the post season but were swept in the opening round by the Maine Nordiques.
Henry Taylor – Hockey Career
Taylor played two years in the WCHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 1972-73 and 1973-74. Over those two years, he played 102 regular season games and scored just 12 goals. The Minnesota Fighting Saints drafted Henry in the 14th round of the 1975 WHA Amateur Draft, 173rd overall after a year of junior in the state of Minnesota.
After his two years in the NAHL, Henry continued on in the world of minor pro until the 1982-83 season, appearing in the IHL, CHL, EHL and Switzerland’s National League B.
After the Jets, Taylor spent two years with the Grand Rapids Owls in the IHL. In his first season, he led the Owls with 36 goals. In 1978-79, the numbers were outstanding with 47 goals and 36 assists for 83 points over 80 games. He led the team in goals and finished tied for fourth in the IHL with Tom Ross of the Kalamazoo Wings. Not ever high on the helpers, Henry placed third in the IHL for assists. He was second in points behind just Terry McDougall of the Fort Wayne Komets.
The Owls placed first overall in the nine team IHL. Grand Rapids then reached the Turner Cup finals where they fell to the Kalamazoo Wings in seven games.
In 1979-80, Henry had a somewhat slow start with the Oklahoma City Stars of the CHL with eight points in 12 games. He then switched to the Baltimore Clippers of the EHL and the numbers took off. Over 64 regular season games, he scored 49 and assisted on 34 for 83 points. He finished third in the league for goals and seventh for points.
In 1980-81, the numbers dropped considerably. For the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, Taylor moved to Europe to play for Olten in Switzerland’s NLB before retiring from the game.