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Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets gave the infant WHA instant credibility when owner Ben Hatskin signed superstar winger Bobby Hull to a contract, luring him away from the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. Led by Hull, a pair of strong goaltenders, and a cast of veterans, the Jets advanced to the AVCO Cup final in their first season, only to lose out to the New England Whalers. The following year, however, the Jets' fortunes took a nosedive and they were swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the Houston Aeros.

That off-season, the Jets became pro hockey's first community-owned team when the citizens of Winnipeg broke open their piggy banks and chipped in to make the down payment to purchase the team and keep it from being moved. On the ice, the Jets signed a number of players from Sweden and Finland, including Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg, to boost a sagging roster. That season, the Jets dazzled opponents and the “Hot Line”, as the trio of Hull, Nilsson, and Hedberg had been dubbed, established itself as one of the most feared combinations in all of pro hockey. However, a mid-season slump ultimately kept them out of the playoff picture.

In 1975-1976, the Jets added more talent from overseas as well as coach Bobby Kromm and they rocketed to the top of the league's standings. They needed only one game above the minimum to breeze through the playoffs and defeat the two-time defending champion Aeros to capture their first AVCO Cup championship.

The next season, a rash of injuries and a last-minute trip to Moscow to compete in the Izvestia tournament ultimately cost the Jets as they fell two periods short of repeating as champions. After losing coach Kromm during the off-season, they added Kent Nilsson, another budding Swedish star, and the Jets regained their form, only to have the community ownership group run out of money late in the season. Private ownership stepped forward and purchased the team and the Jets didn't miss a beat as they went on to recapture the championship with an impressive sweep of the New England Whalers.

Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg departed for the NHL's New York Rangers, but the new owners pulled off a coup when they purchased the remaining players under contract to the defunct Aeros. The reassembled Jets' roster struggled through the 1978-1979 season, but gelled late in the season under new coach Tom McVie and defeated the Edmonton Oilers in six games to win their third AVCO Cup championship.

Like the other three former WHA teams who were admitted into the NHL for the 1979-1980 season, the Jets' roster was stripped bare by the NHL, and the franchise never again achieved the level of success it had during its time in the WHA. After 17 mostly mediocre NHL seasons, the Jets were sold and moved to Phoenix, Arizona for the 1996-1997 season.
Season Team GP W L T Pts Pct. GF GA Finish
1972-1973 Winnipeg Jets 78 43 31 4 90 0.577 285 249 1st place, Western Division
1973-1974 Winnipeg Jets 78 34 39 5 73 0.468 264 296 4th place, Western Division
1974-1975 Winnipeg Jets 78 38 35 5 81 0.519 322 293 3rd place, Canadian Division
1975-1976 Winnipeg Jets 81 52 27 2 106 0.654 345 254 1st place, Canadian Division
1976-1977 Winnipeg Jets 80 46 32 2 94 0.588 366 291 2nd place, Western Division
1977-1978 Winnipeg Jets 80 50 28 2 102 0.637 381 270 1st place, League
1978-1979 Winnipeg Jets 80 39 35 6 84 0.525 307 306 3rd place, League
Totals   555 302 227 26 630 0.568 2270 1959  
All-Time Franchise Records

Games Played

Player GP
Bobby Hull411
Bill Lesuk318
Willy Lindstrom316
Peter Sullivan313
Norm Beaudin309

Goals

Player G
Bobby Hull303
Anders Hedberg236
Ulf Nilsson140
Peter Sullivan125
Willy Lindstrom123

Assists

Player A
Ulf Nilsson344
Bobby Hull335
Anders Hedberg222
Peter Sullivan170
Lars-Erik Sjoberg169

Points

Player Pts
Bobby Hull638
Ulf Nilsson484
Anders Hedberg458
Peter Sullivan295
Willy Lindstrom261

Penalty Minutes

Player PIM
Kim Clackson413
Ulf Nilsson341
Perry Miller298
Bill Lesuk269
Thommie Bergman261

Games Played - Goaltender

Player GP
Joe Daley308
Ernie Wakely92
Curt Larsson68
Markus Mattsson62
Gary Bromley39

Wins

Player W
Joe Daley167
Ernie Wakely44
Curt Larsson30
Markus Mattsson29
Gary Bromley25

Shutouts

Player SO
Joe Daley12
Ernie Wakely6
Curt Larsson1
Gary Bromley1
External Links (will open in new window)
Winnipeg Jets Memorial Site
Winnipeg Jets Tribute Site
Norm Beaudin - The Original Jet
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