WINNIPEG - As the saying goes, life comes full circle. For former Jets backstop, Joe Daley - it certainly did.
On Sunday afternoon Daley returned to his home rink of Bronx Park Community Centre to witness the unveiling of a mural dedicated to all of professional accomplishments.
Daley signed up for Tom Thumb hockey in the East Kildonan area back in the 1950's. From then on, the Winnipeg born goaltender would rise to through the ranks and go on to record over 200 combined wins in the NHL and WHA , win three AVCO Cups with the Winnipeg Jets and secure his place in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
"It's really hard for me to grasp it all and to say anything other than I'm overwhelmed, I'm humbled and I appreciate it very much," said Daley.
"It's a little humbling that's for sure. When I reflect on the fact that I got my hockey career started here at this community club back in the '50s. Now 65 years later, I'm standing here and looking at a mural of myself in the same community club."
Daley's mural is the first to come from the Jets Alumni and Friends. His mural and perhaps others in the future will bind the Winnipeg hockey community and highlight the storied history of the Jets and local alumni in the city. The murals will also serve as an inspiration to future hockey generations.
"This is an important event for this community centre for two reasons," said Bronx Park's Robert Fabbri.
"I think it shows the commitment for someone like Joe Daley to give back to his roots. This was an area where Joe played his youth hockey and now here he is as an adult having had a tremendous athletic career but coming back and being part of the community once again. Secondly, I think he serves as an inspiration to the youth."
The now 75-year-old Daley always makes sure to pass on his wisdom on to local kids about what it takes to achieve your dreams.
"I came down to this community club day after day only because I knew the fun I was going to have," said Daley.
"It was not about winning championships. It was not about the players in front of me scoring all the goals. It was about all of us guys getting together and just having a great time. I've often said if I can inspire one child to come to the community club, have fun, dream your dream and maybe one day you will be able to live that dream out."
In attendance was Daley's family, friends and select members of the Jets alumni including Jordy Douglas, Thomas Steen, Carey Wilson and Mike Ford.
"I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up here today," said Daley.
"It's obvious that I've impacted others and I'm very thankful to be associated with the Jets Alumni, the Jets organization. It's something that I cherish. When I came home in 1972 to play for the Jets I did it because it was my hometown and I feel strongly about Winnipeg."