WINNIPEG – They only lived in Winnipeg for four seasons. A short time but still long enough for the city’s residents to make them one of their own.
“When we left, we almost felt like Winnipeggers,” said Anders Hedberg who played with the Winnipeg Jets during the World Hockey Association days.
“I don’t know if you can imagine how excited we are to be back in this city where hockey is not just entertainment, it’s a part of life.”
Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Bobby Hull, better known as the ‘Hot Line’, were inducted into the Jets’ Hall of Fame prior to Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at MTS Centre. The three former players are the first to be enshrined by the team.
“My best things happened here in Winnipeg,” said Nilsson. “It’s a great honour to be part of this event.”
Combined, the ‘Hot Line’ scored an average of 310 points per season. They also helped lead Winnipeg to two WHA titles in 1976 and 1978.
Hull did not attend the induction ceremony due to personal reasons. The 77-year-old announced he would skip out last month after a local newspaper columnist demanded Hull not be honoured due to allegations of domestic abuse.
“It’s hard to be here without Bobby,” said Nilsson.
Hedberg added that Hull’s absence will not ruin their night.
“Bobby is such an important figure in bringing hockey to Winnipeg,” said Hedberg. “Bobby should be in the Jets’ Hall of Fame.”
The Jets’ Hall of Fame was created to honour the impact and accomplishments of the team’s past players. Each inductee will have his number raised to the rafters of MTS Centre.