The Winnipeg Jets™ Hockey Club announced today that Anders Hedberg, Bobby Hull and Ulf Nilsson will be the first inductees into a newly created Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame. The three players were members of the prolific ‘Hot Line’, which, as a trio, led the Winnipeg Jets to two World Hockey Association (WHA) championships in 1976 and 1978, and remains one of the most potent lines in professional hockey history. Members of Hot Line will be honoured in the inaugural Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at the MTS Centre when the Winnipeg Jets play the Toronto Maple Leafs®.
The new Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame is being created to honour the impact and accomplishments of the team’s hockey legends and celebrate the rich history of professional hockey in the city. The Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame officially marks the Winnipeg Jets’ commitment to recognize and showcase its alumni on an ongoing basis. “Given the Hot Line’s enormous accomplishments and what they did to put Winnipeg on the international hockey map, it is an obvious choice to honour Anders, Bobby, and Ulf for our first induction ceremony,” says Mark Chipman, governor of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club. “The Hot Line’s contributions showcased Winnipeg as an exciting hockey market and paved the way for other great players to come to our city including Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne.”
Anders Hedberg, from Ornskoldsdvik, Sweden, played with the WHA’s Jets from 1974-78. In his four seasons with the Jets, he scored 100 points or more in each season, amassing 458 points (236G, 222A) in 286 games with Winnipeg and was named WHA rookie of the year in 1975. He would also play seven seasons in the NHL® with the New York Rangers® before retiring from playing in 1985. Hedberg has previously been inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, IIHF Hall of Fame and the Swedish Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I'm extremely proud to be first in line with the Hot Line to be inducted into the Jets Hall of Fame. It wasn't just the line that was good, we had a team that was good. Winnipeg and the Jets opened their arms for me and made me part of a changing hockey world that is today much more international. We lived in Winnipeg for only four years, but I still to a certain extent, feel like a Winnipegger.”
Bobby Hull, the signature signing of the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets in 1972, is one of hockey’s all-time greatest players. An inductee of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, he had a 15-year career in the NHL, playing over 1000 games for the Chicago Blackhawks®, winning the Stanley Cup® Championship in in 1961. He led the NHL in goals 13 times, won the Hart Trophy twice and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team 10 times. Hull would play 411 WHA games, all with Winnipeg, scoring 638 points (303G, 335A) and was named WHA MVP twice, in 1973 and 1975. Hull, who was born in Point Anne, Ont., won the Canada Cup in 1976.
“It was so fabulous playing here, but to be remembered and honoured, it is quite an accomplishment that I am thankful for,” says Hull. “I have held my friendship with Anders and Ulf in such high esteem. Going back over the years when we played together, it was one of the happiest times of my life.”
Ulf Nilsson played for the Winnipeg Jets from 1974-78 averaging an astounding 121 points a season in his four years playing in the WHA. Nilsson amassed 484 points (140G, 344A) in 300 games in Winnipeg, winning the playoff MVP in 1976. Following his time as a Jet, Nilsson spent four seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers. Nilsson, who hails from Nynashamn, Sweden represented his country in two IIHF World Championships and the 1981 Canada Cup.
“It’s such an honour to be recognized. I will probably be very emotional during the ceremony, it’s so nice to come back to Winnipeg,” says Nilsson. “I probably had four of my best years in this city, it was amazing to play with Bobby and Anders and I am so happy Winnipeg has a team back. It’s a great place to play hockey.”
All three members of the Hot Line will attend the induction ceremony as well as the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame Luncheon presented by MTS, taking place on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at The Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg. The event will be hosted by Scott Oake with a keynote speech from Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice. Tickets are $72 each for a seat or $720 for a table of 10 and will be available for purchase in early August.
The Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame induction ceremony and luncheon will be the team’s kick-off to the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ festivities being held all weekend in Winnipeg. The NHL Heritage Classic™ Alumni Game on Saturday, October 22, 2016 will feature many former Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers® stars including team captains Dale Hawerchuk and Wayne Gretzky (rosters subject to change). Then the current Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers will face off on Sunday, October 23, 2016 in the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ game at Investors Group Field.
The Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame plans to host its induction ceremony for player alumni on an annual basis as well as other special events. Look for more information coming soon about the hall of fame on its new website: www.winnipegjetshof.com