A Potential Third Class for the WHA HOF
Should there be a third class for the WHA Hall of Fame, the following initial nominees are proposed for consideration:
- Tim Gassen - The late WHA Hall of Fame founder worked tirelessly to promote the WHA and its legacy through his many books and video productions. “The Steve Sabol of the WHA” could not be a more fitting description of Tim.
- Donors to the 1974 Save the Jets Fund (Builder) - When it looked as though the Jets were going to leave Winnipeg following the 1973-74 season, ordinary Winnipeggers opened up their wallets with unparalleled generosity, and against all odds, raised enough capital to not only keep the club in Winnipeg, but see it through its best years. Without their efforts, one of the greatest teams in the history of the game might never have been known.
- Dr. Gerry Wilson (Builder) - It was Dr. Wilson who recommended the Winnipeg Jets' signing of Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson, among others, which opened the floodgates for a wave of European talent that set the WHA apart from other major leagues. Dr. Wilson was also initially part of the ownership group which stepped forward to rescue the Jets in 1978 after the team had become insolvent under community ownership.
- Bobby Kromm (Builder) - Taking over a team that had missed the playoffs one year earlier, Bobby Kromm led the Winnipeg Jets to the AVCO Cup championship in 1976 and had his injury-riddled team within two periods of another the following season.
- Winnipeg Jets Booster Club (Builder) - Far from being simply a group of fans who cheered on their favorite team, the Jets Booster Club, led by Gary Bigwood, Ron Bunio and Rose Glesby, among others, effectively acted as the club's PR department. They published a regular newspaper, organized fan bus trips and put on the team's annual awards banquet, all at their own expense.
- Rick Vaive (Legends of the Game) - Following his rookie season with the “Baby Bulls,” Vaive went on to score 441 goals in 876 games in another major league. He scored 50 or more goals three times and was the first 50-plus goal scorer in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- Paul Henderson (Legends of the Game) - Prior to joining the Toronto Toros, Henderson had an outstanding career in another major league, most notably with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Without question, he is best known for scoring the winning goal for Canada in the final game of the 1972 Summit Series.
- Vaclav Nedomansky (Legends of the Game) - Prior to joining the Toronto Toros, Nedomansky had an illustrious career in his native Czechoslovakia and in international competition. Nedomansky also went on to have considerable success in another major league.
- Jim “Bearcat” Murray (Legends of the Game) - The former Calgary Cowboys trainer, “Bearcat” Murray went on to work for the Calgary Flames from 1980-1996 and was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Rudy Pilous (Legends of the Game) - Before coming to the Winnipeg Jets, Rudy Pilous had a long established tenure at all levels of the game, including six seasons behind the bench in Chicago, where he led the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup championship in 1961. Pilous was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.
- Andy Bathgate (Legends of the Game) - Before joining the Vancouver Blazers as their head coach and briefly as a player, Andy Bathgate had a distinguished 17-year career in another major league, mostly with the New York Rangers. The Rangers retired #9 in his honor in February 2009.
- Bernie Parent (Legends of the Game) - Following his one season with the Philadelphia Blazers, Bernie Parent returned to the crosstown Flyers, where he led them to two Stanley Cup championships. The Flyers retired #1 in his honor in 1979 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984.
- Norm Ullman (Legends of the Game) - After two decades spent in another major league, Norm Ullman joined the Edmonton Oilers and played two seasons with them to wind up a career that would see him inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.
- Harry Howell (Legends of the Game) - Following two decades in another major league, Harry Howell joined the New York Raiders and went on to serve as a player-coach for the franchise before winding up his career with the Calgary Cowboys. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 and the New York Rangers retired #3 in his honor in February 2009.
- Marcel Pronovost (Legends of the Game) - Before joining the Chicago Cougars as their first head coach, Marcel Pronovost enjoyed a 20-season playing career in another major league split between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The defenseman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.
- Bud Poile (Legends of the Game) - Following a pro hockey career that saw him spend more than a decade as a player and later as a coach and general manager in the minor and major leagues, Bud Poile joined the WHA as an executive vice-president. He would go on to become president of the CHL and commissioner of the IHL. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1990.
- Ken “Friar” Nicolson (Media [new category]) - The ”Friar” called Winnipeg Jets games throughout the league's seven-year history and his voice became legendary with Jets fans.