Guy Lafleur is dead – the former major player turned 70 years old.
For a while, the legendary Guy Lafleur has suffered from lung cancer and now he has taken his last breaths.
Lafleur’s former club Olympiques Gatineau in the QMJHL has released the news on Twitter and family members are also said to have confirmed the death on social media.
The Swede remembers his teammate
When Mats Näslund came over to Montreal, Guy Lafleur was the team’s big star. Today, the 62-year-old from Timrå received the news that his former teammate has passed away.
First I saw it on Facebook. The text was in French so I had to translate it, but understood what was going on. I know that he has been ill in recent years so it did not come as a huge surprise, Mats Näslund tells hockeysverige.se and continues:
When I came over, his status in the league was still high. It was (Wayne) Gretzky, Bobby Orr … So that status. Of players who play today, there are maybe two or three players who can show such a status. He was the biggest Montreal had and as a French speaker, he was extra big there.
Guy Lafleur was known for playing without a helmet. When it was fastest out on the ice, the hair stood straight behind.
He played on the farm team with a helmet, but he was a little challenged by the coach there who said he was a coward. Then he took off his helmet.
He is one of the NHL’s top offensive stars of all time, with Lafleur scoring over 50 goals and 119 points in six straight seasons between 1974 and 1980.
One of the biggest
Called “The Flower” and “Le Démon Blond”, Lafleur played a total of 17 NHL seasons, 14 of which were for the Montreal Canadiens. For the other three he played for the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques. In 1,126 games, Guy Lafleur scored 560 goals and 1,353 points.
When I got there, you could say that he had his best years behind him. He had certain periods during the matches and the seasons when you really saw which cannon player he was.
He did not tackle anything, but took blows and had a fantastic shot. Usually from the right edge when he entered the zone. At the beginning of my career, I have been told that if he could not score, he pulled the puck around the goalkeepers’ heads.
The next time he came, the goalkeepers got a little scared and backed away, but then he shot after the ice instead. Many of the goals came at the far post from the right-wing. “If you can score, shoot to kill” was his saying.
He is also Montreal’s biggest player with the most points (1,246) in the club’s history.
Guy Lafleur had a well-stocked trophy cabinet when he won the Stanley Cup five times, the Art Ross Trophy (winner of the NHL points) three times, the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) twice, and the Ted Lindsay Award (NHL’s best player voted by players) three times. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP once. He is also his number 10 retired to the roof of the Bell Center in Montreal and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1988.
“After that, I was not allowed to play with him anymore…”
How would you describe the person, Guy Lafleur?
Reserved. When I got there, he did not spend much time with his teammates. He was mostly to himself. As teammates, we had good contact, but nothing more than that even though we were almost neighbors.
Have you had any contact with him since you left Montreal?
He was an ambassador for the club. Every time I was there at an event, we ran into each other. I have great respect for him and I have felt that he had respect for me as well.
I only played in the same chain as him a match. It was my first match. Then I did a hat trick. After that, I was not allowed to play with him anymore, but I do not know why, says Näslund with a light laugh.
Then I took his rookie record and it was quite big because he was the superstar, the former Montreal star concludes. But above all, Guy Lafleur was a fantastic hockey player.