His storied career in pro hockey saw him between the pipes for three NHL teams and hoisting the Avco Cup three times in the WHA, but for Winnipeg’s Joe Daley, things have come full circle.
Daley, 75, is the subject of a new mural at Bronx Park Community Centre, the East Kildonan rink where his hockey dreams began in the 1950s.
“When you start off as a youngster at a community centre, your hope is you can make one of the teams that’s there,” Daley told CJOB’s Sports Show Wednesday.
“You never dream about them someday immortalizing you by doing something like what they’ve done for me. It’s truly amazing and much appreciated.
“I’m not so sure I deserve it, but it’s beautiful and I’m humbled by it for sure.”
The Daley mural is another example of the current-day Winnipeg Jets reaching back into the city’s hockey history, despite the ’70s Jets and the 21st Century version being technically different franchises.
“I know it’s been said many times that we’re not the same franchise, because the franchise we were all part of went to Phoenix, but at the end of the day, the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg have a heritage, and they chose to follow suit with calling themselves the Jets,” he said.
“It’s not easy for an NHL franchise and the league itself to embrace a league that was in competition with them at the time, and yet we’ve proved it can be done in a very special way.”
After tending goal for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings, Daley had the opportunity to come home to Winnipeg in 1972 to play for the Jets, something he said was still the right choice.
“I’ve always said that the ’72-’79 years of my career were the best ever and I never regretted jumping leagues.”
Daley told the Sports Show that he hopes the mural will inspire other local youth to pursue their hockey goals.
“Somebody may look at the fact that Joe Daley came from this community centre, and they know a little bit about me and the history of my career and the fact that I am a Winnipegger,” he said.
“I hope that I can inspire maybe a youth or two that goes to the community centre to chase a dream.”
WATCH: Connor Hellebuyck gets high-praise from former Jets goalie Joe Daley
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