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1975-76 Anders Hedberg WHA Winnipeg Jets Game Worn Jersey - "Olympic" - Photo Match - Avco Cup Winning Season
Lot #17

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1975-76 Anders Hedberg WHA Winnipeg Jets Game Worn Jersey - "Olympic" - Photo Match - Avco Cup Winning Season
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1975-76 Anders Hedberg WHA Winnipeg Jets Game Worn Jersey - "Olympic" - Photo Match - Avco Cup Winning Season
Lot #17

The Winnipeg Jets were one of the WHA’s original 12, being awarded to local businessman Ben Hatskin in November of 1971. Hatskin was a pioneer, thinking big and following up with action. His boldest move was to select Bobby Hull and actively pursue the NHL’s 2nd leading all-time goal scorer. After much dialogue, and with the financial backing of all other 11 WHA franchises, Hatskin signed Hull away from Chicago, luring him with a 1 million dollar signing bonus. It would take some time for the courts to decide if Hull would be allowed to play for the Jets, but that ruling eventually came in Winnipeg’s favor.

Hull was a demon on the ice, setting forth to build on his already legendary career and gaining the Jets instant respectability. The Jets won the West and made the inaugural Avco World Finals before losing to the New England Whalers. Year two wasn’t as good for the club in the standings or playoffs, as they lost in the 1st round. Again thinking boldly, the Jets began scouting European talent and in 1974 they signed half a dozen of those players to contracts. Included in those initial signing were soon to be stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. In 1974 Hatskin left the Jets and joined the WHA’s board of governors. The franchise, rather than seek private ownership became publicly owned, allowing fans to purchase shares for as little as $25. They would remain privately owned until 1978 when Barry Shenkarow and others, including Bobby Hull purchased the team.

After missing the playoffs in 1974-75, the 1975-76 team turned heads, storming through the regular season and eventually capturing the Avco World Trophy in four straight over the defending champs, Gordie Howe’s Houston Aeros. The Jets made a repeat run through the 1977 playoffs and stretched the Nordiques to a 7th game before losing their title. The 1977-78 season saw the Jets again return to dominance and capture their 2nd Avco World Trophy, again with Hull defeating Howe, this time it was New England who suffered the loss. The WHA’s final season would again see the Winnipeg franchise capture the Avco World Trophy, this time defeating the Wayne Gretzky led Edmonton Oilers. The Jets were easily the most successful WHA franchise and it was a no-brainer that they would be one of the WHA’s teams to merge into the NHL in 1979-80.

This road blue mesh gamer by Harval was worn by Swedish sensation Anders Hedberg during the 1975-76 WHA season. Hedberg burst onto the scene in 1974-75 alongside fellow Swede Ulf Nilsson, as they joined the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets. In 65 games as a rookie Anders netted 53-goals and 100 points and won the Lou Kaplan Trophy as the WHA’s rookie of the year. The following year Hedberg again reached the 50-goal mark to go along with 105 points as the Jets won their first of three Avco Cups. During the playoffs Hedberg scored 13 goals and 19 points in 13 games, wow.

In 1976-77 Anders put forth 70-goals and 131 points, becoming one of only 4 players to score 70-goals in the history of WHA play. The 1977-78 season would be Anders’ last in the WHA. He went out with a bang netting 63 goals and 122 points while helping the Jets to their 2nd Avco Cup title. In his 4 years in the WHA, Hedberg was 3-times a 1st Team WHA All Star and 1-time a 2nd Team WHA All Star. In 286 WHA games Anders lit the lamp 236 times and scored a total of 458 points. Despite missing 3 of the WHA’s 7 seasons, Hedberg is the 5th all-time leading goal scorer and is 9th all time in points scored. Anders also ranks 3rd all-time in career playoff goals and is 7th in career playoff points. It is not an understatement to say that Hedberg was one of the WHA’s all-time greats.

Hedberg joined the New York Rangers for the start of the 1978-79 season and remained there for 7 seasons until announcing his retirement. During his time in New York he helped the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979 and recorded four 30-goal seasons. In 1984-85 he made the All Star team and also won the Bill Masterton Trophy.

Sewn to the shoulders of this gamer are the 1976 Olympic Patches. Sewn into the collar are the Harval and size tagging. The game wear on this sweater is solid consisting of stick marks, board burns, board paint transfer, un-repaired burn holes, fine inner pilling and some fantastic team-sewn repair work, a couple of handfuls in all. Shown above is a beautiful photo match from the pages of Sports Illustrated of Hedberg wearing this exact jersey during the 1975-76 WHA season.