How The Original Winnipeg Jets Changed Hockey History
A fantastic read from Roy MacGregor this past weekend:
It was a pivotal moment in professional hockey, virtually doubling salaries and giving players more control over their lives. Mr. Mikita used to joke he got down on his knees every morning to give thanks to Mr. Hull. Mr. McDonald and Mr. Hull also remain close friends: “Two weeks ago in Chicago, we closed down Kitty O’Sheas [pub].”
The arrival of the Jets also dramatically changed Winnipeg. Mr. McDonald believes it put the notion into Winnipeggers’ heads that they could be big-time, could support pro sports.
Mr. Nilsson and Mr. Hedberg arrived in 1974. The Jets were already known for embracing European players, but it was “The Hot Line” of Messrs. Hull, Hedberg and Nilsson – a line deserving of Hall-of-Fame honours – that brought massive attention to the Jets.
“Hockey is more than a sport in places like Winnipeg,” Mr. Nilsson says from Stockholm, where he now lives. “I loved my four years in the city – and to be able to play with Robert Marvin Hull was better than a dream. It was amazing!”
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