Sunday, 23 August 2020

One Steen Town

I've been trying to solve this mystery for a few days since I first saw the image to the left, but I've admittedly come up with nothing despite following what I thought were leads that only led to dead ends. The player in question to the left is former Winnipeg Jets forward Thomas Steen, but it's what's on his jersey that is the mystery. This image was taken from a highlight posted in 1981-82, and you can see Steen is wearing "T. Steen" across his shoulders. The mystery is why Steen needed to wear the first letter of his first name when there were no other Steens that played for the Jets that year.

The 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets featured a different Steen as the Jets boasted Anders Steen on their roster. Anders was a centerman who scored five goals and 16 points in 42 games for the Jets. The Nykoping, Sweden native would play just one season in the NHL before returning to Farjestads BK Karlstad in 1981-82 for the remainder of his career.

The irony is that Thomas Steen, longtime Jets centerman, joined the Winnipeg Jets in 1981-82 for his rookie season after spending the 1980-81 season with Farjestads BK Karlstad where he scored 38 points in 32 games in the Swedish Elite League!

With Farjestads BK Karlstad swapping Steens with the Winnipeg Jets, it begs the question as to why Thomas Steen was wearing his first letter of his first name on his jersey when Anders Steen never once suited up for the Jets after that nine-win 1980-81 season.

I had originally thought that maybe the Steens wore the same number, but it seems that Anders Steen wore #17 during his one season in Winnipeg. Jude Drouin wore Thomas Steen's #25 in 1980-81 while Larry Hopkins assumed Anders Steen's #17 in 1981-82. The theory that they wore the same number with the same last name, prompting Thomas to wear "T. Steen", was immediately tossed out the window after those discoveries. I was back to my initial starting spot of not knowing why Thomas Steen was wearing the first letter of his first name when there were no other Steen players on the Jets.

The next thought was that the jersey used by Thomas Steen in the game highlight was a one-off jersey. However, a find on the Classic Auctions website proves that Steen wore the first letter of his first name on the white home jerseys that season as well.
Once more, I was left scratching my head as to why Steen needed the first letter of his first name on his sweaters that season when there was no plausible reason for it.

I am out of ideas as to why Thomas Steen played as "T. Steen" in 1981-82 unless the Jets simply wanted everyone to know that the 1981-82 Steen playing center was a different guy from the 1980-81 Steen who played center.

Personally, I think that it shouldn't have been that hard to differentiate between the two, though, as Thomas Steen had 15 goals and 29 assists in his rookie campaign, outscoring Anders Steen's five goals and 11 assists by a considerable measure. The Jets were also very excited about their rookie Swedish centerman who played the second line behind Dale Hawerchuk, promoting Thomas as one of their fabulous new rookies.

In any case, if you have a theory, I'm all ears. Leave a comment below with why you think Thomas Steen wore "T. Steen". Maybe we'll find the right answer in these theories!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

Nice story, do you know when the other Steen left for Sweden? Maybe they both were in training camp together, and A. Steen left just before the start of the regular season.

Teebz said...

I thought about that, Anon, but the highlight in question where I screen-grabbed that picture is from the latter half of the season. Willy Lindstrom scored his 30th goal of the season in that game - the moment that Steen's jersey was captured - and he scored 32 total on the season.

You'd think they would have updated his jersey long before that. LOL

Anonymous said...

I'd figure that they would have at least changed the nameplate on back by that point, but I'm not so sure that they were that concerned "back in the day". I remember seeing vintage sweaters on display and noticing the tears, scrapes and mends that they had. The current NHL is flush with a whole lot more money than the WHA had. Maybe it was very low priority back then, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Either way this is a fun mystery. Thank you for sharing and stay well!

Anonymous said...

They know each other very well, they played together in Sweden.
A. Steen moved to Karlstad from Nyköping and T.Steen came from
Karlskoga is a city close by, don't know if A.Steen was planned
on joining again after his injury, I read that A.Steens injury
was fixed after 20 years of having problems.