Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/5/2011 (3063 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Norm Beaudin has always been referred to as "The Original Jet," but the Free Press archives reveal goaltender Ernie Wakely was actually signed a week earlier.
The first-ever Jets goal was scored by Ab McDonald, one day after his wife gave birth to their fifth child, in Winnipeg's WHA debut — a 6-4 win over the New York Raiders in Gotham City.
The Jets won three of the seven Avco Cups awarded (1975-76, 1977-78 and 1978-79). The other four titles were captured by the New England Whalers (1972-73), the Houston Aeros (1973-74 and 1974-75) and the Quebec Nordiques (1976-77).
Two Jets coaches won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top bench boss — Tom Watt in 1981-82 and Bob Murdoch in 1989-90.
Teemu Selanne made No. 13 famous, but he wanted to wear No. 8 when he first arrived from Finland. However, Randy Carlyle — ironically, Selanne's head coach in Anaheim now — was wearing 8 when he first arrived and Selanne switched to that number after Carlyle's departure.
Financial fact: The average NHL salary jumped to $44,000 from $28,000 in the WHA's first year and to $96,000 by Year 6.
The WHA became the only sports league to have its championship trophy bear the name of a corporation: The Avco Cup was donated by Avco Financial Services Corp. along with $500,000. There are three in existence: The Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame has the original and the others are at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in Halifax.
The Avco Cup wasn't available when the New England Whalers captured the first WHA championship in 1973, so Whalers owner Howard Baldwin took matters into his own hands by sending his PR guy out to buy a trophy from a sporting goods store before the final game. "I think it cost $1.99, but it looked good on television. It kind of looked like the U.S. Open tennis trophy," Baldwin told Ed Willes in his WHA history book, The Rebel League.
Benny Hatskin, the original Jets founder, started a stable and raised thoroughbreds, sold his family box-making business, was involved in real estate and bought and sold jukeboxes before buying the junior Jets in the 1960s.
The 1977-78 Jets team challenged the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens to a series after the season, but it went unanswered.Said Bobby Hull: "You look at those two teams... I have no doubt that our line (with Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson) would have outplayed the (Guy) Lafleur line and our other lines would have held their own. We were probably shy a defenceman or two and they had the big three then (Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe), but just think about the hockey. We wanted to show the fans the game the way it should be played."
In a playoff game against the Birmingham Bulls in 1977-78, a 9-3 Jets win, Dave Hanson — yes, from the Hanson brothers of Slapshot fame — got into a fight with Bobby Hull.
"So we're fighting and the place is going crazy," said Hanson in The Rebel League. Then all of a sudden it was like someone flipped a switch. The noise stopped. Everyone else stopped. I looked in my hand and there it was: Bobby's toupée. I threw it down and it just lay there."
Hull returned later wearing a helmet but sans toupée.
"When I finally got out, I lined up next to Bobby and said, 'Bobby, I'm so sorry.' He said, 'Don't worry about it, kid. I needed a new one anyway.'"
The Jets have retired two numbers: Bobby Hull's No. 9 and the No. 25 worn by Thomas Steen. Both jerseys hang in the rafters at Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix.
Current Coyotes captain Shane Doan is the last active player in the NHL who remains with the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise.
Players from that last Jets team in 1995-96 who are still in the NHL include: Doan, Kris Draper (Detroit) and Nikolai Khabibulin (Edmonton).
The Jets' highest average attendance came in the 1985-86 season: 13,694.
Anders Hedberg is currently the New York Rangers' head European scout.
Kent Nilsson, "The Magic Man," is a European scout with the Florida Panthers.
Two former Jets are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame: Dale Hawerchuk and Bobby Hull.