Nilsson was one of the players who introduced Swedish hockey to Canada when in 1974 he made his debut with the WHA's Winnipeg Jets, where his partner in offense was another great Swedish forward, Anders Hedberg. Both were often among the league's best scorers and, thanks to the Swedish duo's excellent performance, the Winnipeg Jets twice won the Avco Cup.
The legendary Bobby Hull, partnered with Hedberg and Nilsson, was able once again to demonstrate his extraordinary ability and set his amazing scoring record of 1,000 goals. The very fact that such a unique international trio existed deserves mention in any hockey encyclopedia.
Nilsson made his debut with the Swedish national team at the 1972 Izvestia Cup Tournament in Moscow. The next year, again in Moscow, he took part in his first World Championship along with Swedish aces Ulf Sterner and Stig Goran Johansson.
At the 1976 Canada Cup, he played exceptionally well for Tre Kronor and in a game against the USSR scored the decisive goal against Vladislav Tretiak. Nilsson was also included on the NHL All-Star Team pitted against the USSR at the 1979 Challenge Cup tournament.
The most memorable game for Nilsson was the one between the Winnipeg Jets and the USSR in 1978 in Winnipeg, which the Canadian team won 5-3. In that game, Hull scored three goals, Nilsson scored two, and the Nilsson-Hull-Hedberg trio won their own game against one of the world's best lineups, the Mikhailov-Petrov-Kharlamov trio.
Unfortunately, Nilsson was plagued with injuries that prevented him from reaching his full potential. During four seasons with the NHL's New York Rangers, his scoring results fell short of his WHA record.
Among his trophies are a silver medal won at the 1973 World Championship and a bronze medal from the 1974 World Championship. He also played for Sweden in the 1981 Canada Cup tournament. Considering the many high points of his career and the fact that he was one of Europe's pioneers in Canadian hockey, it is clear why Ulf Nilsson is so popular in Sweden.