Ron Loustel was a local Winnipeg product who came to the Jets through the draft, 107th
overall in 1980. For reasons I don't understand (injuries? scouting? masochism?) the Jets threw him into the nets one night
near the end of their worst season ever.
March 27, 1981, and the opponent was the Vancouver Canucks. We had tickets and I remember
my father was pretty eager to see Loustel as he said he knew the goalie's father.
Ronnie gave up 10 goals in a 10-2 Canucks route over the Jets in front of a pretty darn good crowd of
14,022 who obviously got on the young goalie's case quite a bit during the night.
Let me tell you though, emphatically; I have never, in 30 years as a hockey fan ever seen a defense corps leave a goalie
hung out to dry and at the opponent's mercy as I witnessed that night. Sure, some teams go into a run and gun to try and catch
up from behind, but having a rookie goalie in the nets you would think at some point the defense might want to salvage some
of his confidence. Dave Babych was particualrly useless that night. The Canucks were a slow,
clutch and grab team but on this night it was the Jets who looked like they were skating through quick sand, and the Canucks
looked like they had 17 Thomas Gradin's dressed instead of guys like Harold Snepts.
I'm willing to bet that at least 6 of those goals came on 2 on 1's, 3 on 1's, and other assorted odd man rushes. I remember
one 2 on 1 where Babych basically fell down making it a 2 on nothing.
I would have placed even money that night that it was being done on purpose, they were that brutal. My son's Timbits
team of 5 & 6 year olds did more back checking last season then the "pros" did that night.
Loustel never made it back to "the show", and people that weren't there that night probably wonder who this joker was.
Maybe seeing that he was from Winnipeg they figure the goalies both got injured during warm-ups and they had to pull some
senior league guy out of a crowd.
Only those of us that had tickets that night know how a young goalie was fed to the wolves.
Looking at Curtis Walker's Jet's Memorial page I noticed that when the Jets hosted the Canucks that
year they had crowds of 13,239 & 14,022, while the Canucks in a much bigger city against the Jets drew only 12,176 &
12,209. the Jets failed to beat the Canucks in any of the 4 games, going 0-2-2.