Guy Lafleur, hockey Hall of Famer who helped Montreal Canadiens win five Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s, has died at the age of 70. Though the cause of the death was not immediately known, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Confirming his death, Canadiens President Geoff Molson said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Guy Lafleur. All members of the Canadiens organization are devastated by his passing.”
“Guy Lafleur had an exceptional career and always remained simple, accessible, and close to the Habs and hockey fans in Quebec, Canada and around the world. Throughout his career, he allowed us to experience great moments of collective pride. He was one of the greatest players in our organization while becoming an extraordinary ambassador for our sport.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement, “As distinctively stylish as he was remarkably talented, Lafleur cut a dashing and unmistakable figure whenever he blazed down the ice of the Montreal Forum, his long blond locks flowing in his wake as he prepared to rifle another puck past a helpless goaltender — or set up a linemate for a goal.”
Who was Guy Lafleur?
Born on September 20, 1951, in Thurso, Quebec, Guy Lafleur began playing hockey at the age of five after he was gifted a hockey stick as a Christmas present.
He went on to play at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament for three consecutive years during his youth and eventually gained recognition for his play as a member of the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He led the team to the Memorial Cup in 1971.
Lafleur went on to become one of the greatest players of his generation, registering 518 goals and 728 assists in 14 seasons with Montreal.T
he No. 1 pick in the 1971 NHL draft added 133 points (57 goals, 76 assists) in 124 playoff contests.Nicknamed “The Flower,” he retired after the 1984-85 season.
He, however, returned in 1988-89 with the New York Rangers and played the next two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before “hanging up his skates for good.“
In 2019, he was diagnosed with lung cancer when tumors were discovered by doctors performing emergency quadruple bypass heart surgery.