Montreal Canadiens icon Male Lafleur, who captured five Stanley Cup titles and was a hockey hero in Quebec long just before his NHL playing times, has died. He was 70.
The induce of death was not instantly identified. On the other hand, Lafleur endured as a result of wellness issues in the latter phases of his life. In September 2019, he underwent quadruple bypass heart surgical procedure, which was adopted by lung medical procedures two months later on.
Then, in Oct of 2020, he endured a recurrence of lung cancer.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life of Dude Lafleur. All associates of the Canadiens group are devastated by his passing,” Canadiens President Geoff Molson explained in a statement.
“Person Lafleur had an extraordinary career and normally remained easy, obtainable, and close to the Habs and hockey followers in Quebec, Canada and all around the globe. During his profession, he authorized us to knowledge great times of collective pleasure. He was one particular of the finest gamers in our corporation even though turning out to be an remarkable ambassador for our activity.”
Quebec is in talks with the loved ones of Lafleur to maintain a countrywide funeral for the Montreal Canadiens legend, premier François Legault declared at a information meeting Friday.
For decades, Lafleur — nicknamed “The Flower” — scored seemingly with ease at all levels of hockey and grew into the part of a person of the game’s flashiest superstars. He frequently mesmerized admirers with his signature lengthy blond hair flowing behind him as he rushed up the ice in advance of unleashing a single of his patented booming slapshots.
By his 10th birthday, there were being previously symptoms that Lafleur was a generational expertise, skating circles all over young children 3 many years his senior at an worldwide peewee hockey tournament in Quebec Town.
Lafleur performed junior hockey for the Quebec Jr. Aces and Quebec Remparts. He amassed a staggering 465 factors in two seasons and two playoffs with the Remparts, primary the staff to the Memorial Cup title in 1971.
That yr, Lafleur set the Quebec Big Junior Hockey League normal-period history of 130 goals, which was eclipsed by another French hockey prodigy, Mario Lemieux (133), in the 1983-84 campaign.
View | Jamie Strashin appears to be like at the legacy of Dude Lafleur:
Staying drafted by Canadiens was fitting
Person Damien Lafleur was born on Sept. 20, 1951, in Thurso, Que., a small city in the western component of the province, and grew up idolizing Canadiens great Jean Béliveau.
So it was fitting he manufactured his debut for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971-72 time, using the torch from his hero only months just after Béliveau wrapped his career by skating off the ice as a Stanley Cup winner for the 10th time in the spring of 1971.
Lafleur’s arrival in Montreal, like his departure years afterwards, was controversial. Common manager Sam Pollock built a offer with the California Golden Seals to move up in the NHL draft to find Lafleur, passing on another highly touted French Canadian, Marcel Dionne.
Dionne outscored Lafleur in their rookie seasons, foremost some followers to feel Pollock experienced created a blunder in picking Lafleur. But the critics backed off by 1973 as Lafleur hoisted his 1st Stanley Cup with the franchise.
All question was erased in the 1974-75 season when Lafleur broke out with his initially of 6 consecutive seasons with at the very least 50 targets and 100 points.
Watch | Lafleur’s most well known goal stated:
He dominated the latter 50 % of the decade, top the Habs to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles from 1976 to 1979, and received the Hart Trophy as the league’s most precious player 2 times for the duration of that period. He also captured the 1977 Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.
His scoring prowess was so dominating in the late ’70s that famous Hockey Night time in Canada broadcaster Dick Irvin Jr. referred to as him the finest participant in the earth.
Lafleur transcended the sport in spite of his recognised behavior of cigarette smoking cigarettes. Former coach Scotty Bowman said he would even smoke among durations.
“He’d smoke in the [hotel] room, but usually in the to
ilet,” mentioned previous Quebec Nordiques teammate Joe Sakic. “I instructed him he failed to have to do that. I mean, I was in awe of him.”
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On March 24, 1981, Lafleur scarcely escaped a deadly crash following smashing his Cadillac into a freeway fence while driving home. A signpost smashed by means of the windshield, missing his head by inches. Small plastic surgical procedure was wanted to repair his ideal ear lobe.
Lafleur’s romantic relationship with Canadiens administration begun to sour in the 1980s. He was asked to rein in his cost-free-wheeling model of participate in in favour of a extra defensive model by Corridor of Fame linemate and then mentor Jacques Lemaire. Just after the team refused to meet his desire for a trade, he stunned the hockey planet when, at only 33 years aged, he abruptly declared his retirement months into the 1984 period.
For the next a few a long time, Lafleur commonly only played publicly in charity hockey functions, and he was inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Fame in 1988.
That same year, New York Rangers common manager Phil Esposito convinced him to occur out of retirement and return to the NHL. Lafleur performed a period in New York, highlighted by a two-target general performance at the fabled Montreal Discussion board, ensuing in a rare standing ovation for an opposing player. He then performed two a lot more years with his hometown Quebec Nordiques right before calling it a job for a next and last time next the 1991 time.
Watch | Lafleur returns to Montreal as a Ranger:
At the time, Lafleur was only the next player in league record, following Gordie Howe, to return to the NHL as a player after becoming inducted into the Corridor of Fame.
In his put up-playing profession, Lafleur turned an ambassador for the Montreal Canadiens and recognized the Guy Lafleur Award of Excellence, a prize offered each year to the major pupil-athlete hockey participant in the province of Quebec.
In the late 2000s, Lafleur was in the headlines for non-hockey explanations.
Lafleur testified in 2007 at a bail hearing for his son Mark and was the subject of an arrest warrant in 2008 for allegedly offering contradictory testimony. He was identified guilty in 2009 in advance of the conviction was overturned on attractiveness a 12 months later on.
Currently his statue stands outside the house Montreal’s Bell Centre arena alongside Canadiens all-time greats Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard and Béliveau. His No. 10 hangs in the rafters of the arena following being retired on Feb. 16, 1985. At the time it was the sixth number retired by the Canadiens franchise.
View | Lafleur discusses his retirement options:
Lafleur is still the Canadiens’ file holder for factors (1,246), helps (728) and sport-successful objectives (94).
He was named No. 11 on the listing of the NHL’s 100 all-time greatest gamers by the Hockey Information in 1998. Lafleur was also named one of the 100 greatest gamers by the NHL as section of its centennial celebration in 2017.
Lafleur is survived by his two sons, Mark and Martin, and his wife, Lise.