Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Born on this date in 1943, Joe Daley's journey to the NHL began with the Johnstown Jets of the Eastern Hockey League in 1963-64 where he impressed with a 40-22-4 record in his first professional season, which earned him EHL Rookie of the Year honors. He returned to the Jets in 1964-65 and duplicated that feat with a 41 win season. His next stop was in the Central Hockey League with the Memphis Wings and another workhorse season with 68 appearances. Additionally, he played another eight games with the San Francisco Seals of the Western Hockey League.
1966-67 saw no decrease in his workload with a combined 66 games split between the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League (16 games) and back to Memphis (50) for a combined 34 wins.
Daley with the Memphis Red Wings. Note the cotton boll inside the circle!
Having been previously shutout of the NHL when it was limited to just six clubs, the expansion of the league to 12 clubs for the 1967-68 season created many new opportunities, one of which was for Daley, who was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 Expansion Draft from the Detroit Red Wings, who held Daley's NHL rights. Daley did not play in the NHL that first season of expansion, having been assigned to the Penguins minor league affiliate the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL where he appeared in 56 games.
Finally, after five minor league seasons, Daley made his NHL debut with the Penguins in 1968-69. He played in 29 games that season, which included his first career shutout when he made 41 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the Boston Bruins in Pittsburgh.
Daley had a rough time with Pittsburgh in 1969-70 and only played in nine games before spending the majority of the season with Baltimore in the AHL.
With the NHL expanding once again, Daley was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres while on waivers by Pittsburgh. During his only season in Buffalo, Daley appeared in 38 games before he was dealt to Detroit for the 1971-72 season.
The maskless Daley while with Buffalo
Fortune smiled on Daley once more with the formation of the World Hockey Association in 1972. He was drafted by his hometown Winnipeg Jets, who made a splash by signing none other than NHL star Bobby Hull to be the face of the new league. It was a great opportunity for stability and playing time when compared to the unsettled career he was having in the NHL.
A happy Daley while with the Winnipeg Jets
Daley was the Jets backup in year one, with 29 games of action, but took over as their number one starting in 1973-74. He saw his workload increase from 41 to 51 as the improving Jets added Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson to form a dynamic line with Hull in 1974-75.
After playing 62 games and winning 41 in 1975-76, Daley went 10-1 in the playoffs as the Jets captured their first Avco World Trophy as WHA champions. Daley again carried the bulk of the workload the following season, playing in 65 games, his most since 1967, as the Jets returned to the WHA finals.
His playing time began to decrease in 1977-78 with 37 games and then 23 in 1978-79, but the Jets would win back to back championships as Daley closed out his career, as did the WHA, which ceased operations following the Jets championship.
After his playing days, he founded Joe Daley's Sportscards in his native Winnipeg.
Today's featured jersey is a 1968-69 PIttsburgh Penguins Joe Daley jersey. This style of jersey was adopted for the 1968-69 season, replacing their original sweaters which had "Pittsburgh" diagonally across the front. This new style with the circular logo was used for three seasons until the circle was dropped and the jersey was decorated with just the skating penguin logo until 1973 when the powder blue color was made darker.
Today's video selection is a look back at the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA, which includes a quotes from Joe Daley.