Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Linemates reunited in visit to Hall

Hull, Nilsson drop in, sign wall of honour

  • Print

Even 36 years after they last played together, Bobby Hull wanted Ulf Nilsson to his right.

"Ulfie, come on over here by me," the legendary left-winger called out to his centre from their days with the WHA's Winnipeg Jets from 1974-78.

Two-thirds of the famed Hot Line visited the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame on Pacific Avenue for the first time Wednesday and as has become customary with other inductees, they were asked to sign the Honoured Members Wall.

More than 100 athletes from all sports have signed the wall since the MSHOF was opened in late 2012 and Hull didn't want to take a chance he and his friend would be separated by more than an inch or two. (Don't worry, there's room for Anders Hedberg to fit in on the right.)

SSLqThe people (at the museum) are to be commended for the tremendous display here'

Hull, 75, said he was very impressed the second he walked inside and not by anything related to hockey. He was immediately drawn to the rowing exhibit of trophies, uniforms and pictures featuring inductees such as 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Janine Hanson (now Janine Stephens).

When the Golden Jet came across the section dedicated to the WHA Jets, the memories came flooding back.

"The people (at the museum) are to be commended for the tremendous display here. I think more people should know that it's here and what's inside so they can come and visit and be taken back in time. There's lots of memorabilia here that I haven't even seen."

Hull said Nilsson was one of the toughest players he ever shared the ice with, not because the Swede could fight but because he could take whatever punishment his opponents dished out and never let it affect his style.

"I remember a game in San Diego (against the Mariners) and when the game was over, Ulfie was bruised and cut and scraped from just underneath his blue Jofa helmet to the top of his skates, and he only got eight points that night," he said.

"They could hack him, spear him, two-hand him, punch him, but he would never quit. He was a tough SOB. He was the one who led our line. He carried the puck and took the abuse until it came to one of us and we put it in the net. He was just a fabulous kid and I'm honoured that he played with the Jets. I was honoured to play with him and I'm honoured to still call him my very good friend."

Nilsson, known as a prankster as a player, hasn't changed much in that regard. When he and Hull were leaving the MSHOF, Hull opted to take a mini-elevator down to save his aching knees from a flight of steps. Nilsson, who was at the controls at the bottom of the stairs, brought him down halfway before telling him, "It's broken. You're too heavy," before breaking out into laughter.

Nilsson said coming to Winnipeg with fellow countrymen Hedberg, Lars-Erik Sjoberg and Curt Larsson was the best decision he ever made.

"For us to be able to play with Bobby was just unbelievable. We had a great impact on the way North American hockey has been played for many, many years," he said.

Both Hull and Nilsson are in town participating in several fundraising events for the Amadeus Steen Foundation.

Rick Brownlee, executive director of the MSHOF, said he's always happy to give honoured members a tour of the facility for the first time.

"Their faces lit up. You could see it was taking them back 40 years," he said.

The WHA Jets are the focal point of the 1970s exhibit. When Nilsson saw Hull's jersey on display, he told Brownlee he'd send him one of his own.

"He said he'd talk to Anders and maybe we'd have the whole Hot Line. That would be fabulous," Brownlee said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2014 A2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Willy wants to get back to winning

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.
  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google