Wednesday, December 16, 2020

My Jets Numbers Project: An Introduction

It was just a matter of time before I had the Winnipeg Jets join my esteemed "Numbers Projects" alongside my Habs Numbers Project, my Oilers Numbers Project, my Nordiques Numbers Project, my Sens Numbers Project, my Canucks Numbers Project, my Flames Numbers Project, my Team Canada Numbers Project and my Expos Numbers Project.

What's nice is I get to cheat here, because I will use all professional iterations of the Jets in Winnipeg: the WHA team that became an NHL team, and the one that was created when the Atlanta Thrashers moved up North; I will not be including Atlanta numbers nor those of the Phoenix Coyotes, the team that was moved to the desert after the 1995-96 season.
It's hard not to have a soft spot for the perennial underdogs, the team with the smallest arena, from the smallest city and metropolitan area, that always faces nearly insurmountable odds just to exist - let alone succeed - and whose fanbase has stuck with them through thick and thin. They kept the dream alive amid not really having a chance at all to see it materialize. They certainly were never given any hope by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at any point.

They won AVCO Cups in the WHA in the 1970s, were merged into the NHL along with the Hartford Whalers, Québec Nordiques and Edmonton Oilers in 1979, kept losing to the dynasty Oilers in the 1980s, moved to Arizona in the 1990s, came back (albeit from the ruins of another franchise) in the 2010s. Their history is rich in superstars, hard-knocks, and the inevitable small-market reality of icing a bunch of journeymen players.

As a reminder, the point of this project is to feature memorabilia from players who represent each uniform number ever worn in team history; ideally, for the purposes of displaying it upon completion, it'd be nice to have those all be signed cards; however, because I'm far from rich, sometimes these may be other types of signed items, or even jersey cards.

So far, I have featured the following 33 players for 26 numbers:

4: Fredrik Olausson: check!
5: Igor Ulanov: check!
6: Phil Housley: check!
7: Keith Tkachuk and Brent Ashton: check!
8: Randy Carlyle and Jacob Trouba: check!
10: Dale Hawerchuk and Alexei Zhamnov (twice): check!
11: Paul Fenton: check!
14: Anthony Peluso: check!
16: Andrew Ladd and Stéphane Quintal: check!
17: Kris King and Jim Nill: check!
18: Bryan Little: check!
19: Brian Mullen and Shane Doan: check!
21: Aaron Gagnon and Chad Kilger: check!
22: Moe Mantha: check!
23: Paul MacDermid: check!
25: Thomas Steen: check!
26: Blake Wheeler: check!
29: Patrik Laine: jersey card check!
31: Rick Tabaracci: check!
33: Dustin Byfuglien: jersey card check!
34: Darrin Shannon: check!
35: Bob Essensa: check!
37: Connor Hellebuyck: jersey card check!
38: Paul Postma: check!
40: Edward "Eddie" Pasquale: check!
44: Zach Bogosian: check!
55: Mark Scheifele: jersey card check!
80: Nikolai Antropov: check!

Captains: King, Hawerchuk, Steen, Ladd

I still have a lot of work ahead of myself, but I'm up to the challenge!

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