Guy Lafleur, A Member Of The Hockey Hall Of Fame, Has Died At The Age Of 70

guy lafleur
Guy Lafleur

Guy Lafleur was touted as the Canadiens’ next great Quebec-born player when he was taken first overall in the 1971 NHL draft.

Lafleur was anticipated to become hockey’s new French Canadian icon, with blonde locks that swirled in the wind as he glided up the ice before unleashing one of his bullet blasts.

It simply took him some time to get there.

Along the way, inspiring a generation.

After a battle with lung cancer, Lafleur, a Hall of Fame forward who helped Montreal win five Stanley Cup victories in the 1970s, died at the age of 70.

In 14 seasons with Montreal, Lafleur scored 518 goals and added 728 assists. The Canadiens won it all in 1973, and then four more times from 1976 to 1979, with the flamboyant forward leading the way.

The Canadiens’ president, Geoff Molson, described the team as “devastated.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a die-hard Canadiens fan, praised Lafleur as well.

Lafleur’s passing comes as the hockey world mourns the death of Mike Bossy, a former New York Islanders forward and another Quebecer, who died last week at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

LaFleur, often known as “The Flower,” was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 after doctors detected tumors during emergency quadruple bypass heart surgery.

A few months later, Lafleur underwent surgery to remove both the top lobe of his lung and lymph nodes, but the cancer returned in October 2020.

Lafleur was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 after retiring from the NHL in 1985 after Montreal declined his request for a trade. However, he returned in that year with the New York Rangers and then spent two more seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before retiring in 1991.

In 2017, Lafleur was named one of the NHL’s 100 best players of all time, with 560 goals and 793 assists in 1,126 games over 17 seasons.

He has the most assists and points in Canadiens history. From 1974-75 through 1979-80, he has at least 50 goals in six consecutive seasons.

From 1976 to 1978, Lafleur won three consecutive Art Ross Trophies as the NHL’s leading scorer, the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1977 and 1978, and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1977.

During a regular medical exam to renew his helicopter pilot’s license, Lafleur’s quadruple bypass surgery was revealed when it was discovered that four of his coronary arteries were entirely blocked and a fifth was clogged close to 90%.

He had one-third of his right lung removed by physicians two months after the malignancy was diagnosed.

Lafleur has been participating with Merck Canada as part of its “Be The MVP” program to promote awareness about early lung cancer detection up to those health scares.

Lafleur, whose No. 10 uniform was retired by the Canadiens in 1985, hadn’t been seen in public much in recent years due to his cancer diagnosis and the COVID-19 outbreak, but he did receive a standing ovation at the Bell Centre during Montreal’s unlikely run to the Cup final last season.

In October, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League honored him by retiring his number.