REGINA — Thomas Steen played for just one NHL squad during his 14-year career and that suited him just fine — then and now.
Steen fell just 50 games shy of the 1,000 mark with the Winnipeg Jets 1.0, playing centre from 1981 to 1995 at the old Winnipeg Arena.
The product of Tockmark, Sweden, still lives in the Manitoba capital and remains an ambassador for the Jets 2.0 and the NHL. Now, the hockey club is adding his name to its Hall of Fame, along with former defenceman Randy Carlyle.
The former Jets captains will be honoured at a special induction ceremony on Feb. 11 when the New York Rangers visit Bell MTS Place. That night, the Jets will don their Heritage Classic jerseys.
“It feels absolutely great, especially to do it with Randy Carlyle,” Steen told the Free Press on Friday as he took in the Heritage Classic festivities, including the Legacy Luncheon. “I feel grateful for all the hard work and the compete all Jets players, fans, media and sponsors have put in over the years and are continuing to do so.
“I’m proud to be a Jet forever.”
Steen and Carlyle, who played together for 10 seasons in Winnipeg (1983-93), join Ab McDonald, Lars-Erik Sjoberg, Anders Hedberg, Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Dale Hawerchuk in the team’s Hall of Fame.
A fifth-round pick of the Jets during their first NHL draft in 1979, Steen arrived in Winnipeg two years later and collected 15 goals and 44 points in his rookie season. Twice he eclipsed the 80-point barrier, and posted five 20-goal seasons.
Steen played just 31 games in his final year (’94-95), wrapping up his NHL career after 950 games, 264 goals and 817 points.
His son, Alex, is in his 15th campaign, capturing the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in June.
Carlyle, meanwhile, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman in Pittsburgh in 1980-81, and was traded to the Jets in March 1984. He played for parts of 10 seasons, retiring in 1993. He played 564 games for the Jets, scoring 80 goals and posting 306 points.
“(Steen and Carlyle) were both great players,” said Jets assistant coach Charlie Huddy, a former Edmonton Oilers defenceman. “I had a lot of really good battles against them. Randy was a pivot on defence back there, carried a lot of minutes and a lot of offensive skill. Just a real solid player. And Thomas was a hard-nosed forward that could score and make plays, obviously. They were a huge part of those very good Winnipeg teams back then.”
Carlyle became an assistant coach for the Jets in their final season in Winnipeg (1995-96), and served on the Manitoba Moose coaching staff as both an assistant and head coach in two separate stints.
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