Wednesday, February 29, 2012

'DID YOU KNOW' - Now With Jets

Here's the card that really spawned the idea of this 'Did You Know' series.

A friend of mine pointed out (what looked like) an oddity on this Bobby Hull card and asked if I could look into it. And you know, until I saw a scan, I can say I never really noticed the detail on the card.

DID YOU KNOW: Bobby Hull (who played his entire WHA career for the Winnipeg Jets) was chosen by the Jets in the 1979 NHL/WHA Expansion Draft. is that possible? If he played with the Jets, how could he be chosen by the Jets?

Here's the explanation.

A lot of the players in the WHA also had their rights held by NHL teams. For example, the St. Louis Blues had the NHL rights to Mike Liut while he played for the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers. The Atlanta Flames had the NHL rights to Kent Nilsson while he played for the Jets in the WHA. I guess going to the 'rival league' was not as much of a 'clean cut' as many thought it was.

When the WHA folded in 1979, 4 teams merged with the NHL (Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets). Each incoming franchise was only able to protect up to 2 skaters and 2 goalies from the other NHL teams reclaiming their players (as many of them had NHL rights) before an expansion draft was held to fill out the rosters of the four new NHL teams.

You with me? OK, here we go.

Bobby Hull was not one of the players protected by Winnipeg.

The Jets instead chose to protect Scott Campbell (D), Morris Lukowich (LW) and Markus Mattsson (G).

As a result, the Chicago Black Hawks decided to reclaim the 40-year-old Hull and bring him back to the team that made him an icon in the NHL.

But that was only on paper, because during the 1979 Expansion Draft (held after this 'reclaiming' process), the Winnipeg Jets used their third pick to guessed it, Bobby Hull from the Chicago Black Hawks.

Confused yet?

That's what the WHA does.

So, the fact it says "Now with Jets" on Bobby's 1979/80 hockey card might look weird, it's completely accurate.

Now you know.


  1. What always threw me off was the colour of the jersey collar. Did the Black Hawks ever have a green collar?

    1. I noticed that too. It doesn't look like it was 'airbrushed'. So I think it's one of two things...

      It's a poor photo exposure and they messed up the jersey colors or Bobby's wearing a non-Black Hawks jersey.

      I think it's just a bad photo that didn't get properly color-corrected.

      Good eye though.

    2. There are still some odd things about these cards, though.

      -The card clearly has Winnipeg Jets all over it, but OPC still found it necessary to add the 'Now with Jets' inscription. Odd. Is it because he doesn't have a Jets jersey on? Its hard to tell what he's wearing at all. And really, couldn't they have dug up a Jets photo from the previous WHA season? They did it for Gordie Howe's card for that year.

      -The Topps version has him with the Chicago Blackhawks. There isn't even a 'Now with Jets' on the card. Aren't these cards released at the same time? Why was the OPC version changed, but not the Topps?

      -The expansion draft, when Hull was officially a Jet again, was on June 13, 1979. Not sure when card sets were released back then, but surely that was enough time for OPC and Topps to get the Bobby Hull card correct, no?


    3. ask too many questions.


      Now I have more stuff to look into.

  2. Great post...I certainly learned something new!