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'Hot Line' first inductees to Jets Hall of Fame

Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson will be honored Oct. 19

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Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson will be the first inductees into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame.

The three forwards, nicknamed the "Hot Line," helped Winnipeg win the World Hockey Association championship in 1976 and 1978. The induction ceremony is Wednesday, Oct. 19 at MTS Centre when the Jets host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Given the Hot Line's enormous accomplishments and what they did to put Winnipeg on the international hockey map, it is an obvious choice to honor Anders, Bobby and Ulf for our first induction ceremony," Jets Hockey Club governor Mark Chipman told the Winnipeg website. "The Hot Line's contributions showcased Winnipeg as an exciting hockey market and paved the way for other great players to come to our city, including Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne."

Hull, 77, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. He played 15 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks before winning WHA MVP twice with Winnipeg, where he had 303 goals and 638 points in 411 games over seven seasons, also winning the league championship in 1979.

"It was so fabulous playing here, but to be remembered and honored, it is quite an accomplishment that I am thankful for," Hull said. "I have held my friendship with Anders and Ulf in such high esteem. Going back over the years when we played together, it was one of the happiest times of my life."

Hedberg, 65, won WHA Rookie of the Year in 1974-75 with 53 goals and 100 points in 65 games. He had 100 or more points in four straight seasons, and 236 goals and 458 points in 286 games with Winnipeg before playing seven seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers.

"I'm extremely proud to be first in line with the Hot Line to be inducted into the Jets Hall of Fame," Hedberg said. "It wasn't just the line that was good, we had a team that was good. Winnipeg and the Jets opened their arms for me and made me part of a changing hockey world that is today much more international. We lived in Winnipeg for only four years, but I still to a certain extent, feel like a Winnipegger."

Nilsson, 66, won WHA playoff MVP in 1976; he had seven goals and 26 points in 13 games. Nilsson had 140 goals and 344 assists in 300 games in four seasons with Winnipeg. He then played four seasons with the Rangers.

"It's such an honor to be recognized. I will probably be very emotional during the ceremony, it's so nice to come back to Winnipeg," Nilsson said. "I probably had four of my best years in this city, it was amazing to play with Bobby and Anders and I am so happy Winnipeg has a team back. It's a great place to play hockey."

Winnipeg joined the NHL for the 1979-80 season and moved to become the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-97. The Jets returned as an NHL franchise in 2011-12.

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