Harvey "Busher" Jackson was a flashy member of the Kid Line, the Toronto Maple Leaf trio that dominated the National Hockey League in the 1930s. Along with big Charlie Conacher and the slick-passing Joe Primeau, Jackson established himself as a star on the left wing with his flair and wicked backhand.
Jackson signed with the Maple Leafs in 1929, joining his Marlboro teammate Charlie Conacher, who'd turned pro just a few games before him. At 18, Jackson was the youngest player in the league, but he was brash and confident. In his first game - against the Montreal Canadiens at the Mutual Street Arena - he knocked down his idol, Howie Morenz. From the ice, Morenz offered his opinion of the awestruck newcomer: "You'll do."
A handsome kid with a quick smile, Busher got his nickname when he was injured and the team's trainer, Tim Daly, asked him to carry sticks, as was the tradition. "I'm not here to carry sticks. I'm here to play hockey," replied Jackson. "You ain't nothing but a fresh busher!" Daly retorted. The name, which could be mistaken to mean he was from the bush leagues or the back woods, stuck for the rest of Jackson's life.
The Kid Line wasn't formed right away. It was only in the middle of the 1929-30 season that Joe Primeau, whose NHL career was off to an unremarkable start, was placed between the hard-shooting Conacher and the speedy Jackson. The line caught fire almost immediately, however, and the three players were consistently among the league's scoring leaders over the next five years.
Jackson was a great rusher, with good size and a pure ability to score goals. He was famous for his backhand, which was lethal as he darted across the ice from the left side. With his physique and natural talent, Jackson avoided serious injuries even though he had a driving, entertaining style of play. In 1932, at the tender age of 21, he registered 28 goals and 53 points to lead the league in scoring. The Kid Line was at its peak and the Maple Leafs won their first Stanley Cup since their name change from the St. Patricks. Jackson was named to the league's First All-Star Team, one of three such selections he would earn.
After Primeau retired in 1936, Busher played on a line with his brother, Art Jackson, for one season before joining Syl Apps and Gord Drillon on yet another high-scoring Leaf unit. When Busher's output sagged in 1938-39, Smythe traded his controversial charge to the New York Americans for Sweeney Schriner. He played two years with the Americans and then three more with Boston - even spending some time on the Bruins blue line - before retiring in 1944.