Birthday wishes to RW Norm Beaudin.
Beaudin was the first player signed by the Jets, and played on a line with superstar Bobby Hull and centre Christian Bordeleau in the Jets' inaugural season. He had his best pro season by far, as all three members of the line scored over 100 points; Beaudin contributed 38 goals and 65 assists for 103 points, and was named to play in the WHA's first All-Star Game in 1973. He led the WHA playoffs in scoring that year with a sparkling 13 goals and 15 assists as the Jets lost to the New England Whalers in the league finals, highlighted by a seven-point game against the Minnesota Fighting Saints.
Beaudin's production dropped sharply the next season, and in 1974 he and Bordeleau were replaced as Hull's linemates by Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. After the Jets' AVCO World Trophy championship in 1976, Beaudin signed with Swiss team SC Langnau, with whom he played for two seasons before retiring.
1978 After 8 games with the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA, Wayne Gretzky was sold to the Edmonton Oilers (along with Eddie Mio and Peter Driscoll). Gretzky went on to score 104 points in 72 games and was named WHA Rookie of the Year.
While Bobby Hull and the amazing Swedes were the face of the Winnipeg jets, the team also had a great crew of underappreciated grinders, who effectively provided them with grit, muscle and hard-nosed play. One such player was Billy Lesuk a proven NHL veteran who could score 15-17 goals each year, but was barely noticed among the superstar Jets cast.
He joined the jets in 1975-76 season and appeared in the Avco Cup finals every year, winning three championships. He then enjoyed a long a successful scouting career with Winnipeg, Chicago and Boston.
Also, when your friends ask, "who played on both the 1970 Bruins Stanley Cup team and a Winnipeg Jets Avco Cup team"? Be sure to answer Bill Lesuk, not Ted Green.
And if you see Bill today, wish him a happy WHA birthday.