Winnipeg Jets Memorial Site

The Legend of Hannu Jarvenpaa

In the 1986 Entry Draft, the Jets had the 71st overall selection and took right winger Hannu Jarvenpaa out of Finland. Though he only played three uneventful seasons for the Jets, scoring only 11 goals in 114 regular-season games, his tenure as a Jet started in a manner which gave fans hope he might have a much larger impact than he eventually did.

On September 19, 1986, Jarvenpaa made his debut as a Jet in an exhibition game against the Minnesota North Stars. The game was the first on the Jets exhibition schedule and coming into the game, little was expected from the soft-spoken 23-year-old Jarvenpaa, who was making his North American debut.

What followed made Jarvenpaa somewhat of a folk hero and left Jets fans with a lasting impression that those in attendance will always remember him by. The Jets won the game 7-4, but Jarvenpaa scored the first, second, fifth and sixth goals. It was the first time he had ever scored four goals in a game, but managed to on this night, with the help of linemates Thomas Steen and Gilles Hamel. All four goals came in heavy traffic around the North Stars net, which prompted not just one, but two standing ovations from the crowd, who obviously liked what they saw and the legend was born. Jarvenpaa also put a big check on Dino Ciccarelli in the first period, and for his efforts, was named first star of the game.

His legendary status among long-time Jets fans grew from the ashes with lightning-quick speed and many fans to this day still remember the “Hannu Jarvenpaa Game.” His one night of fame gave him as much notoriety as any Jet of his time and those in attendance that night won't soon forget the first impression he left.