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This article was published 20/1/2019 (1010 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Joe Daley was just a kid when he put on his skates to walk a few blocks from his home to play his first game at the Bronx Park Community Centre.
More than seven decades later the 75-year-old Daley, who backstopped the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets to three Avco Cup championships, and was in net when the Jets defeated the Soviet Union’s national team in the fourth game of their series, is back at Bronx Park — but this time in a mural.
The current Winnipeg Jets, along with Bronx Park, unveiled a mural honouring Daley on Sunday.
"I was concerned my boots would be stolen," Daley said after the unveiling, recalling going to his first game at the community centre.
"This place became my home. I spent many years of true enjoyment here… it isn’t about this and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (induction). It was just a matter of fun and at the end of the day sometimes good things happen.
"It is hard for me to stand here and say I deserve this — I’ll never say that. I played the game because I love it."
Earlier, Daley said "that’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful," when the curtain was removed to reveal the mural inside the community centre and just metres away from the outdoor rinks he played on.
The mural shows a picture of Daley from the time he starred with the Jets, one of him in goal, and the final one showing him shaking hands with Soviet great Vladislav Tretiak.
"This is the first time I’ve seen it — it is a complete surprise. It is humbling for me."
Bronx representative Robert Fabbri and Anders Strome, True North Sports and Entertainment’s director of player and alumni relations, said Daley deserved the honour.
"Without goaltending you don’t win tournaments or trophies," Fabbri said.
"I thank Joe Daley for having the courage to join a new team in a new league in his hometown in 1972. And I commend him for being the citizen he is today by returning to his roots and being part of Bronx Park."
Strome, who played at Bronx Park during his younger days, said "individuals like Joe defied the odds and made it to the big leagues."
He said the Winnipeg Jets plan to unveil several more murals honouring hometown alumni at other community centres and landmarks across the city.
"We hope this inspires future legions of youth to play for their home teams."
Bob Wilks, who played defense in front of Daley on the East End Community Club’s team in the early 1950s, said he was pleased the community honoured his former goaltender.
"It’s nice to see where he has gone — we’ve followed his career," Wilks said.
The event brought out a few former Jets and other former hockey players including Jordy Douglas, Gerard McDonald, Carey Wilson and Thomas Steen.
Steen said he thinks the murals are a great idea for honouring former players from the city.
"It’s a nice way of recognizing them," he said.
"There’s a lot of guys that this will be happening too."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.