Canadian Montreal legend Guy Lafleur has passed away, the team announced Friday. He was 70.
No cause of death was given, but Lafleur announced his most recent diagnosis of right lung cancer in October 2020. He had previously had a cancerous lobe removed from his left lung. myself in 2019.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Guy Lafleur,” Canadian owner Geoff Molson said in a statement. “All members of the Canadianiens are devastated by his passing. Guy Lafleur has had an exceptional career and has always lived a simple life, accessible and close to fans of Habs and the chorus. hockey in Quebec, Canada and around the world.During his career he has allowed us to experience great moments of collective pride.He is one of the great players. greatest in our organization while also becoming a special ambassador for our sport.”
The winger affectionately known as “The Flower” and “The Blond Demon” played 14 seasons with Montreal (1971-85) and was the cornerstone of five Stanley Cup-winning teams, including 1977, when he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the knockout MVP. Lafleur had success on the ice, becoming the first player in league history to have six consecutive seasons with 50 plus goals and 100 plus points (1974-80).
During the height of his career in the 1970s, Lafleur won the Art Ross Trophy three times as the NHL score leader, a two-time Hart Trophy winner as the tournament’s MVP, and Three-time Lester Award winner B. Pearson (now known as Ted Lindsay) is the player of the year according to the NHL Players Association.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman paid tribute to Lafleur’s unmistakable flair as a player.
“You don’t have to see Guy Lafleur’s name and number on his sweater when ‘The Flower’ has his cane,” Bettman said in a statement. “With both distinct style and considerable talent, Lafleur creates a dashing and unmistakable look whenever he plunges down the ice rink of the Montreal Forum, his long blonde locks It oozes out when he’s about to shoot another through a helpless goalscorer – or set up a teammate for a goal.”
Lafleur was plagued by injuries in the 1980s and headbutted coach Jacques Lemaire when he took over for the 1983-1984 season. The two played together in some of Canada’s best seasons in the 1970s but found nothing in common as coach and player. Lafleur asked Montreal general manager Serge Savard to trade in 1985 and was refused. In the end, Lafleur decided to retire.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, Lafleur that same year decided to quit and return to the NHL for the New York Rangers. At the time, only Gordie Howe returned to the NHL after entering the Hall; Mario Lemieux did just that years later.
After a season in New York, Lafleur moved on to spend two years with the Quebec Nordiques – where he mentored future star Joe Sakic – before finally shedding his skates in 1991.
Born in Fiveo, Quebec, Lafleur grew up idolizing the legendary Jean Beliveau of Montreal. After a successful teenage hockey career, Lafleur was first conceived by the Canadianiens in 1971 and has gone on to become a franchise icon in its own right.
All told, Lafleur appeared in 1,126 NHL games with 560 goals and 1,353 points. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 greatest NHL players of all time.
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