JNFFT: Phil Housley vs Dale Hawerchuk

Dale Hawerchuk was Winnipeg’s first true NHL superstar, but was traded away to Buffalo for a king’s ransom that included defenseman Phil Housley. Today as we resume the Fan Favorite Tournament, they will go against each other to see which one carries more popularity.


The Jets struggled in their first two seasons as an NHL club, thanks in large part to the NHL treating all four WHA clubs – Winnipeg, Edmonton, Hartford and Quebec – as expansion teams and taking away all but four players away and giving them very poor draft positions to start. The last Avco Cup champions had finished tied for last in the league in the first season of 1979-80 and selected Dave Babych second overall that summer. The following 1980-81 season, they finished with an even worse record and last in the league, but as a silver lining were able to take Hawerchuk with the first overall pick of the 1981 draft. Sure before the Jets drafted Dale, Winnipeg had seen it’s share of hockey stars, but Hawerchuk represented Winnipeg’s first true NHL superstar.

Dale went on to score 45 goals, 103 points and led the Jets to one of the all-time greatest one season turnarounds in NHL history which included the teams first ever playoff berth and a Calder trophy win. In nine seasons with the Jets, he had 379 goals and 929 points in 713 games played. He topped 40 goals in all but two of those nine seasons, was a four time all-star, named to the 1985 NHL end of season second All-Star team and multiple times was given consideration for the Hart Trophy as league’s most valuable player.


Hawerchuk was traded in 1990 though to the Buffalo Sabres, and in exchange, the Jets received a package of players including another hockey hall of famer, Phil Housley.

Housley spent just three seasons with the Jets from 1990 to 1993, but he was just as critical to the team’s success as Hawerchuk had been all those years previous. In two of the three seasons with the Jets, Housley led the team in scoring, was a representative for the Jets in three straight all-star games and was considered one of the league’s top defensemen. He scored 64 goals, 259 points in 232 games with the Jets. He was traded to St. Louis just before the start of the 1993-94 season.

Great Moments In Housley History

Great Moments In Hawerchuk History


Phil Housley’s time in Winnipeg was short, but make no mistake, he was every bit the star player with talent as Dale Hawerchuk. Hawerchuk however may have last played in Winnipeg over 25 years ago, but his association with Winnipeg hockey and the Jets – his closeness with current Jets star Mark Scheifele has been well documented – continues to this day.