Winnipeg Jets Memorial Site

Remembrance Day Massacre

Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion on which we remember our fallen veterans.

For Jets fans, however, Remembrance Day holds an additional meaning.

On November 11, 1981, the Jets made their first visit of the season to the Met Center in Bloomington to face their new division rivals, the Minnesota North Stars.

What followed was a defeat of epic proportions.

After a decent first period, the Jets completely fell apart and the North Stars mercilessly ran up the score. The final tally was 15-2 in favor of Minnesota.

Not even the 1980-81 Jets, a team that won only nine games and set a league record for futility, could claim a defeat that lopsided. It would go down in history as the Jets' worst defeat of all time. Simply reciting the 15-2 score would jog memories for fans of both teams for decades to come, long after both franchises relocated.

In the understatement of the year, coach Tom Watt told the Winnipeg Free Press after the game, “Collectively, we were bad, very bad defensively.”

Goaltender Doug Soetaert was the unfortunate victim of that bad defensive effort. He faced 51 shots and was touched for all 15 goals.

In their next visit to the Met Center, however, Soetaert came up with perhaps his biggest save as a Jet. During an altercation with an unruly fan near the bench, he grabbed a stick from Watt's hands to prevent what could have been a donnybrook.

The Jets went on to win that game and followed it up with another victory in their next trip to Minnesota.

No doubt, there would have been much greater fallout from the game had the two teams remained in the Norris Division. The move of the Colorado Rockies to New Jersey forced the Jets to shift to the Smythe Division the following season, short-circuiting what could have been one of the NHL's best rivalries.

Nonetheless, Remembrance Day 1981 remains one to forget for Jets fans.