While young Doug was growing up in Edmonton, his father stored all the hockey equipment for the community club's team in the family basement. After school, Soetaert would put on the goalie pads and have friends take shots on him in the basement.
Soetaert played his junior hockey with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WCJHL from 1971 to 1975. During the 1974-75 season, he practiced with Hall of Famer Jacques Plante, then the Edmonton Oilers' informal goalie coach. That season also saw Soetaert selected by the New York Rangers in the 1975 Amateur Draft. He played in the World Junior Championships for team Canada and won a silver medal.
The next season saw Soetaert make his NHL debut, playing in eight games, though he spent the majority of the year with the AHL's Providence Reds. He did this for his tenure with the Rangers until 1981. Soetaert was then traded to the Jets where he played regularly while also seeing his first action in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was dealt once again in 1984, this time to the Canadiens, where he spent the next two seasons. After two years, Soetaert left Montreal to go back to New York signing with the Rangers as a free agent. The 1986-87 season was his last.