Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2016 (1447 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
No need to comb the archives to learn about this city's rich hockey history over the next few months.
An exhibit, titled 60 Years of Pro Hockey in Winnipeg, has arrived at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame just in time for the NHL’s Heritage Classic.
Beginning with the Winnipeg Warriors in the late 1950s, continuing through the World Hockey Association era and ending showcasing current Winnipeg Jets 2.0 memorabilia, the 16-display exhibit has something for every local fan.
"Hockey is Canada and Canada is hockey," Ab McDonald, a four-time Stanley Cup winner who scored the Jets' first goal in the WHA in 1972, said at the exhibit's official opening Thursday. "It’s great history for the city. This has always been a great hockey town. To see everything in here, the guys who played here and the tremendous hockey teams that have played here, it’s pretty special. Having a hockey team in this city, in my opinion, has improved the image of this city."
The exhibit nicely complements next weekend's (Oct. 22-23) NHL Heritage Classic outdoor hockey festivities at Investors Group Field. The current Jets take on the Edmonton Oilers in a regular-season match Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. Alumni from both clubs, including Dale Hawerchuk, Teemu Selanne, Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, take the ice at IGF on Oct. 22 at 3 p.m.
Each of the displays in the exhibit represents an important time in Winnipeg hockey history, including jerseys bearing the names of the WHA Jets' "Hot line" — Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson.
Derek Meech played 18 games in a Jets uniform during the club's first two seasons here after relocating from Atlanta. The Winnipeg-born defenceman grew up idolizing the first incarnation of the Jets they left in 1996. This season, the 32-year-old will be the broadcast booth at Manitoba Moose games.
"It’s a neat thing, with the Heritage Classic coming to town, the Jets have put Winnipeg on the map in a lot of ways," said Meech. "I was able to fulfil that dream. It was unbelievable for me. This exhibit is important for this city."
Rick Brownlee, Sport Manitoba’s sport heritage manager, said the Jets, who sponsored the exhibit, wanted it to be about more than the club.
"We go all the way back to the Winnipeg Warriors in the 1950s, who won an Edinburgh Cup and opened the old Winnipeg Arena," Brownlee said. "The Moose are also in here, because let’s face it, if it wasn’t for the Moose during that period of time (after the Jets left) and getting the arena built downtown, we wouldn’t have the Jets today."
Brownlee was an usher at the Winnipeg Arena during the WHA days and his favourite part of the display is the AVCO Cup.
"People don’t remember that during the WHA days, we were in the final five times and won the cup three times," he said. "It shows we can build a championship club in this city."
The exhibit, located at 145 Pacific Ave., runs until April. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors (55+) and children.
Updated on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 12:27 PM CDT: Adds photo
4:37 PM: updated, edited
4:46 PM: Fixes Braves to Warriors
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.