The 29-year-old has 26 goals and 12 assists this season and is a major reason for the team’s success so far. Playing 685 games and earning 615 points in a Jets jersey, his career in Winnipeg has definitely been a successful one to date. Let’s take a look at a few fun facts about Scheifele.
Scheifele Debuted in the Jets’ First Game in Winnipeg
Any hockey player’s NHL debut is something to remember, but Scheifele’s was particularly special. In 2011, the Atlanta Thrashers were sold and relocated to Winnipeg where the team became the Winnipeg Jets. This was the first franchise relocation in the NHL since the Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997. The Thrashers were purchased by True North Sports & Entertainment for $170 million and paid the NHL $60 million to relocate the team to Winnipeg.
Winnipeg didn’t have an NHL team to cheer for since the 1995-96 season when the Jets left for Phoenix. On Oct. 9, 2011, the Jets played for the first time in Winnipeg since moving and in that same game, Scheifele made his NHL debut. At 18 years old, he played 13:44 against the Montreal Canadiens. While the Jets lost 5-1, it was a game to remember for the soon-to-be star.
No. 55 Was Sent Down to Juniors Twice
While Scheifele has consistently been playing at the NHL level for about a decade now, his road to playing in the league was not entirely smooth sailing. The centreman scored his first goal on Oct. 19, 2011, against the Toronto Maple Leafs which was only his fifth game in the league. While achieving a goal that quickly is impressive, it was his sole point in 11 games over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. He was sent down to juniors twice within that time frame.
In his 2012-13 season with the Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League), he averaged nearly two points per game. During Scheifele’s three seasons there, Dale Hawerchuk was the head coach of the team and played a significant mentorship role for the centreman on his journey to becoming an impactful player in the NHL.
Jets’ general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff discussed his trust in Hawerchuk preparing Scheifele to be the best player he could be at the NHL level. He said, “Where Dale [Hawerchuk] really had a strong emphasis was after we drafted Mark and just molding him into the pro type of player that he was going to have to be. And that’s part and parcel why we felt very comfortable sending Mark back to junior for the time that we did knowing that he was going to learn under Dale.”
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In the 2013-14 season, No. 55 made the Jets roster directly out of training camp. He even scored the Jets’ first goal of the season in a game against the Edmonton Oilers where he helped the team to a 5-4 win. While Scheifele was respected as a soon-to-be NHLer, it took dedication and commitment for the Kitchener native to earn his place in the NHL and on the Jets roster.
Scheifele Holds A Goal Record
In all of Scheifele’s past full seasons with the Jets, he has earned more assists than goals but, did you know he actually set a goal record for the Thrashers and Jets? On Dec. 17, 2013, the Jets took on the Buffalo Sabres when the alternate captain recorded the fastest two road goals for the Thrashers/Jets franchise, scoring the pair 36 seconds apart. This game was one of 39 that Scheifele played in, where he had tallied 12 goals and 29 points. He then sustained a knee injury in March of the 2013-14 season, putting his play to a halt.
Due to the injury, Scheifele played a total of 63 games that season. Despite the shortened campaign, he completed it with 34 points and tied for eighth place in scoring among NHL rookies.
Scheifele is one player on the Jets that continues to impress with his steady play and eye for the puck. He has always possessed a determination and drive for hockey that continues to shine each time he puts on the Jets jersey.
Courtney is a 23-year-old graduate from the University of Western Ontario, earning her Master of Media in Journalism and Communication. She combines her longtime love for hockey, journalism, and sports media as she covers the Winnipeg Jets for The Hockey Writers.