The memory of the incredible din that accompanied the world-famous Whiteouts during Winnipeg Jets playoff games still rings in Thomas Steen's ears.
"It's hard to pick certain (career highlights) out, but the one that always comes to my mind was the playoffs here were unreal," said Steen, announced as one of 16 inductees into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday. "And I've never seen anything like that since. Just how it carried us through the games was just amazing. I'd been to loud games but nothing like here."
Even louder than that raucous old barn in Chicago?
"That was different," said Steen, who played more games (950) for the Jets than any other player. That was only like for about 45 minutes, then they couldn't take it any more. Here, it was for a full three hours."
They cheered the likes of Dale Hawerchuk, Randy Gilhen and Jordy Douglas, other ex-Jets who will join Steen in the Hall.
"It feels very good, very warm," said the centre, who has returned to Winnipeg from Sweden to live and scout for Minnesota.
The lowlight of Steen's career came when the Jets were sold and had to leave town.
"Yeah, that was kind of hard," he said. "They retired my jersey (No. 25) and that sort of picked me up. But it was very emotional."
Although Gilhen helped the IHL Manitoba Moose make inroads here, winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins topped his playing days.
"Definitely, the highlight of my career was the Stanley Cup in 1991," said Gilhen, now a medical device company rep. "I heard about this last week at the arena and I had never given it much thought but, when I walked by the Wall (of Fame) at the arena, I thought it was pretty neat that what I've done in my career has been recognized and it's a pretty special feeling for me right now."
Douglas will always remember starting his pro career with the New England Whalers' WHA squad that featured the likes of Gordie Howe, Dave Keon and Johnny McKenzie.
"I was so tickled," said the financial advisor. "It's an honour to go in. Then you go into the room and find out all the other inductees that are going in with you and you just go, 'Holy Cow, there's a lot of talent in this province.' It's a real treat to be included."
Other inductees were: Grant Ledyard, Steve Patrick, Dean Evason and Cliff Pennington (players); the late Bill Heindl Sr. (veterans category); Ralph Borger, Ray Frost and Brandon's Jim Mann (builders); referees Earl Ormshaw and Joe Vinet; the late Dallis Beck (media); Ed Sweeney (hockey historian); and the 1974 Centennial Cup champion Selkirk Steelers the three Winnipeg Monarchs squads that won the Memorial Cup in 1935, '37 and '46 (teams).
The induction dinner will be held at Canad Inns-Polo Park on Oct. 21. Tickets are $75 each and are available from dinner chairman Frank McKinnon at 204-253-6982 or e-mail: email@example.com.