Harvey “Busher” Jackson

Born in 1911, Harvey “Busher” Jackson burst on to the NHL scene at an uncommonly young age of just 18 years old in 1929. With the Maple Leafs, Busher Jackson formed one third of a new and deadly forward line known as the “Kid Line” with teammates Charlie Conacher and Joe Primeau. While Jackson’s rookie season was nothing to shake a stick at, the team began to take off in the following seasons, along with Jackson himself.

Being fed sublime passes from Primeau, Jackson racked up 18 goals and 31 points in 43 points during the 1930-31 season. Primeau and Conacher appeared to outclass Jackson by a fair bit, but in the 1931-32 season, Jackson disproved any doubters with a dominant season. Jackson, a 195-pound man, used his size effectively and played all 48 games in the NHL’s newly lengthened regular season, scoring 28 goals, 25 assists, and 53 points, leading the league in points while finishing third in goals. Jackson also finished with a position on the First All-Star team. Most importantly, Jackson helped lead the Toronto to their first Stanley Cup as the Leafs.

Jackson finished second in both goals and points in the 1932-33 season, with 27 goals and 44 points and was voted onto the Second All-Star team. Despite missing 10 games of the 1933-34 season, Jackson’s offensive output was still stellar, finishing with 38 points in 38 games. His line mates, however, finished first and second in the NHL in points. Jackson was known for his deadly backhand which was hard to read and predict. He continued to use his skill set in the 1934-35 season, scoring 22 goals and adding 22 assists in arguably the second best offensive season of his career, as he did it in just 42 games. Jackson finished 3rd in goals despite missing six games and made it to the First All-Star team for the third time, adding to the nod he had earned the season prior.

After a bit of a down season in the 1935-36 season, Jackson had a resurgence of offense, now playing with the new generation of Leaf forwards, Syl Apps and Gordie Drillon. Jackson, only 26 years old himself, finished with a solid 40 points in 46 games. Jackson finished tied for fourth in goals and fifth in points. He was also voted onto the First All-Star team for an impressive fourth time. His 12 PIM also got him some consideration for the Lady Byng trophy, as he finished 5th in the voting. After a slight regression in the 1937-38 season, followed by an even further regression in the 1938-39 season. Manager Conn Smythe traded the 27-year old to the New York Americans.

While Jackson’s offense was unremarkable in the two seasons he played for the Americans, he did have a remarkably low 4 PIM in 46 games during the 1940-41 season. If he had produced more than 26 points, he probably would have garnered consideration for the Lady Byng trophy again. Jackson then moved on to the Boston Bruins starting in 1941, where his first season would be relatively uneventful. In the following seasons, however, the NHL had a noticeable increase in offense of which Jackson was a beneficiary. Jackson had seasons of 34 and 32 points in 44 and 42 games, respectively over the following two seasons, even while playing defense for the Bruins on occasion. Despite the spikes in offense, Jackson retired at the age of 33 in 1944.

While the end of Jackson’s career was a bit less dramatic than the start, his consistency and longevity was impressive. Because Jackson started playing in the NHL at such a young age, retiring at 33 didn’t result in a shorter than average career. In fact, Jackson retired at tied for 6th in games all-time with 633 games and alone in second all-time for points with 475 points. Jackson also retired as the all-time Leafs points leader, but was surpassed by his former teammate Apps three years later. Jackson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971.

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