For the first time in nearly a decade, members of the Winnipeg Jets’ famous ‘Hot Line’ have reunited in Winnipeg.
Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg joined 680 CJOB’s Kathy Kennedy for an exclusive interview Thursday.
“It’s a pleasure to be back in the confines of your city again,” Hull said. “The people here rejuvenated my career.”
This is the first time the Hot Line team members have been back in Winnipeg, together, since 2010.
The players, joined by former Jets play-by-play announcers Curt Kielback and Peter Young, spent nearly an hour reminiscing about their time playing in Winnipeg.
With Swedish linemates Hedberg and Nilsson, Hull formed one of the most formidable forward lines of the 1970’s.
“It was the best decision of my life to come to Winnipeg,” said Nilsson.
LISTEN: Jets 1.0 Hot Line
The ‘Hot Line’ only played together for four seasons but during that time, dominated the WHA in scoring. They also led the Jets to three Avco World Trophy titles.
“It was very special. We were absolutely new in North America,” Anders said. “(We’d) never been in Canada or the United States and suddenly we arrive in a place like Winnipeg that had the same relationship to our game that I’ve had. I loved it. The fans loved it and we were able to get together with Bobby.”
Hull led the league in scoring with 77 goals and 142 points in his first season as a member of the ‘Hot Line’. The slick playmaking of Nilsson helped him rack up 94 assists and 120 points. Hedberg meanwhile scored 53 goals and 100 points giving him WHA rookie of the year honours.
The trio spoke highly about their time playing in Winnipeg and said the line connected instantly.
“The first time we ever skated together at St. James Civic Centre, prior to the Team Canada in 1974… it worked,” Anders said. “The antennas were out. We were exchanging positions. I had never played right wing before and Bobby said, ‘hey kid you better get over to the right side cause I’ve been on the left side my whole life.'”
Throughout the reunion the former Jets had a few of their own observations about Jets 2.0 and some of the team’s players.
“It’s an awesome team. Very balanced,” Nilsson said. “They have a lot of guys that can score. Unfortunately, not the last game, but hopefully tonight they get (Patrik) Laine going.”
“They have defence that are big and they join in the offensive,” Anders said. “They have guys that can skate, like (Nikolaj) Ehlers that can really think. They have grinders and workers and hey… the Big Buff.”
While Jets 2.0 gear up for the biggest game in franchise history, one thing the trio could agree on is it’s going to be a great game against Nashville.
“It’s going to be a hell of a game,” Nilsson said.
“If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t want to bet one way or another,” Hull said. “It’s been a great series. Whomever wants it the most will win.”