New exhibit highlights Winnipeg’s hockey history
Taylor Allen, BEAT REPORTER
Winnipeg hockey fans can relive some of the city’s most historic moments in a new exhibit.
The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame just opened a historical exhibit, called 60 Years of Pro Hockey in Winnipeg, on Oct. 13.
Executive Director of the Manitoba Sports HOF Rick Brownlee says all of their exhibits have been special in their own way, but this one’s extra special.
“My first job was an usher at the Winnipeg Arena during the WHA days. It was a fascinating time to be a Jets fan,” said Brownlee.
The exhibit features artifacts from the Winnipeg Warriors, the WHA Winnipeg Jets, NHL 1.0 Jets, the Manitoba Moose, and the current version of the Jets. It includes game-worn jerseys and sticks from Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, Teemu Selanne, Mark Scheifele and more.
Although the majority of artifacts belong to the three different eras of Jets’ teams, Brownlee said it’s important to not forget about the Winnipeg Warriors and the Manitoba Moose. The Warriors were a semi-pro team that played in the city from 1955-1961. They were the first tenants of the Winnipeg Arena and played in the Western Hockey League (WHL). They are famous for winning the Edinburgh Trophy in 1956, which was awarded to the winners of a series played between the champions of the WHL and the Quebec Hockey League. Brownlee believes the Moose are an important part of the Jets’ history.
“You can’t tell the story of the Winnipeg Jets without talking about the Moose,” said Brownlee.
“We wouldn’t have the Jets today if it weren’t for the Moose. The Chipman family and True North were able to show the NHL that they could be successful,” he explained.
The Avco Cup and Bobby Hull’s jersey banner that used to hang in the rafters of the Winnipeg Arena are also featured in the museum. They are the first things visitors see when they walk in. There are three Avco Cups in the world but the one at the Manitoba Sports HOF is the real one, said Brownlee. It’s the same Avco Cup that the Jets celebrated with in 1979 when they defeated the Edmon- ton Oilers in what was the last game for the World Hockey Association before its demise.
Exhibits in the Manitoba Sports HOF match the province’s significant sport- ing events. When the news broke of the Heritage Classic coming to Winnipeg, Brownlee reached out to the Winnipeg Jets and True North to see if they would be interested in working together to make this exhibit happen.
“I lived through the heartbreak of losing the Jets in 1996 and lived through the return of the team in 2011. This whole exhibit is a culmination of that celebration and a celebration of the Heritage Classic,” said Brownlee.
The museum is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is by donation, and the exhibit will be up until the end of April. For more information on the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and its current exhibit, visit www.sportmanitoba.ca/hall-of-fame.