Jim Playfair was born June 22, 1964 in Fort St. James, B.C. The 1st choice, 20th overall selection of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, Playfair is a graduate of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Fort Saskatchewan Traders and was a member of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winter Hawks.
The Fort St. James, B.C. native spent two full seasons with the Winter Hawks before joining the WHL's Calgary Wranglers early into the 1983-84 season. In his three seasons in the WHL, Playfair played in two Memorial Cup tournaments winning it the second time around in 1983.
In his third year of junior hockey, Playfair was dealt to the Calgary Wranglers after only 16 games in Portland. Even though he spent the majority of the 1983-84 season in the WHL, Playfair made his NHL debut with the Oilers that same season. Playfair played in two games with Edmonton in 1983-84 scoring his first NHL goal and adding an assist for two points.
Playfair spent the next three seasons in the American Hockey League with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs and Oilers. During the off-season in 1987, the Chicago Blackhawks signed Playfair as a free agent, that season Playfair played in 12 games with Chicago while spending the majority of the season with the IHL's Saginaw Hawks.
In 1988-89 Playfair spent the majority of the season in Saginaw while playing in only seven games with Chicago before joining the IHL's Indianapolis Ice for the next three years, capturing a Turner Cup in 1990.
Playfair's playing days came to an end following the 1991-92 season, and became an assistant coach with the Ice in 1992-93 before landing the head coaching position with the East Coast Hockey League's Dayton Bombers. After three seasons in Dayton, Playfair returned to the IHL, where he spent the next three years as an assistant coach with the Michigan K-Wings before took over the head coaching position midway through the 99-2000 season.
Throughout his career, Jim Playfair played in 21 NHL games.