Winnipeg Jets Memorial Site

Jets Constitution

Throughout the Jets NHL history, their patterns of behavior became so predictable that it almost seemed as though they were operating under their own strict set of rules henceforth known as the Jets Constitution. Here are the primary articles under which the Jets lived by during their existence in the NHL:

Article 1 - Lose to Edmonton

In the spring of 1979, the Jets closed out the WHA by defeating the Edmonton Oilers to win the final AVCO Cup championship. Little did Jets fans know that their team was to enter the NHL with a determination to do everything it could to help the Oilers win from then on. No team scored more goals against the NHL Jets than the Oilers and come playoff time, it was the Jets cue to roll over and play dead. A staggering 4-22 record against this team in post season play is no accident. Three of those four wins came in one series (1990), where I'm sure there was much blame thrown around the Jets dressing room for having the audacity to make the Oilers sweat. Needless to say, they won no series played against the Oilers, nor did the Jets win all that often during regular-season play.

Article 2 - Lose to Montreal

Though the Jets never played Montreal as often as Edmonton (see Article 1), the sight of the “CH” of the Montreal uniform was another signal to the Jets to not offer any resistance to the opposition. The Jets won only two of 23 games the two teams played at the Montreal Forum, and after those two wins by the Jets, the team was probably forced to walk back to Winnipeg in shame. Early in the Jets history, the Jets hosted Tuxedo Night on Hockey Night in Canada, with Montreal as the opponent on occasion. The Jets actually had some success on these nights, but they did away with that promotion promptly, being careful not to offend their guests.

Article 3 - Beat the Devils

As much as the Jets laid down and played dead for Edmonton and Montreal, they saved their energy for the New Jersey Devils. Early in the Jets NHL existence, the Devils (first, the Rockies) were easy pickings for everyone in the league. As time went on, the Devils improved, and so did the Jets tenacity against them. There's no question that a Jet would have won the scoring title every season if they played the Devils every game. The intensity with which they pursued their quest of beating the Devils at all costs is reflected in their all time record against the Devils. Aside from the Ottawa Senators, who the Jets only played eight times, the Jets had a better record against the Devils than against any other single opponent during their NHL existence.

Article 4 - Beat the Flames

Early in the Jets NHL existence, the Flames seemingly couldn't lose to the Jets. The Jets were commonly victimized by strong performances from goaltender Rejean Lemelin, and timely goals by the likes of Ed Beers. At one point in time, the Jets decided that enough was enough, and took their frustrations out on the Flames for the rest of the Jets time in the NHL. It's no coincidence that the only team that the Jets ever beat in an NHL playoff series was the Flames. The Jets didn't always beat the Flames, but on most occasions, it wasn't due to indifference or lack of effort.

Article 5 - Lose in the Playoffs

Few teams in the history of pro sports have a legacy of losing in post season play like the NHL Jets. Were it not for Article 4 above, the Jets would have never won a post season series, but even with their desire to beat the Flames, the Jets overall post season record is 19-43, and only the two series won, both against the Flames. In those infrequent occasions in which they actually won a post season series, they made sure their short-lived success ended promptly, not winning a single game in the next round. The “White Out” which originated in Winnipeg should have been referred to as a “Black Out” with the lack of success the NHL Jets had.

Article 6 - Play Your Worst When The Most People Are Watching

During their time in the NHL, whenever the big crowds filled the Arena, or when a game was televised (which wasn't that often), that's when the Jets run and hid from the spotlight, saving their worst for when the most amount of people were watching. Not only was this true in the post season (see Article 5), but in the regular season as well, as the Jets did their best to disappoint the large audience.

Article 7 - Blame the Coach

This isn't something that's unique to the Jets, but nonetheless, it is also something that was a significant point in their checkered NHL history. 11 coaches in 17 seasons isn't exactly a recipe for stability. Whenever the team showed an extended period of underachieving, which happened frequently, out came the axe in the direction of the coach du jour. Only one of those coaches lasted at least three full seasons, yet the coach was often helpless to deal with a rotten organization.