Guy Damien Lafleur, OC, CQ, (born September 20, 1951, in Thurso, Quebec), is a former professional ice hockey player and is widely regarded as one of the most naturally gifted and popular players ever to play professional ice hockey. Between 1971 and 1991, he played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques in an NHL career spanning 17 seasons and five Stanley Cup championships.
In his teens, Lafleur gained considerable recognition for his play as a member of the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he led his team to the Memorial Cup in 1971, scoring an amazing 130 regular-season goals. At the time, Lafleur idolized Jean Béliveau and Bobby Orr.
The Habs' astute General Manager, Sam Pollock, was keen to find a way to trade with the California Golden Seals to obtain their first round draft pick. He persuaded Seals owner Charlie Finley to trade the Seals' pick and Francois Lacombe in return for Montreal's first round pick and a veteran Ernie Hicke. It turned out to be one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history. Pollock hesitated between Lafleur and Marcel Dionne, but chose Lafleur with his overall no.1 pick.
At first, Lafleur struggled to live up to expectations in the league but by 1974, he had developed his trademark smooth skating style and scoring touch. He was a cornerstone of five Stanley Cup championship teams. He was one of the most popular players on a very popular team; fans chanted "Guy, Guy, Guy!" whenever he touched the puck.
During the 1978 Stanley Cup finals, Boston Bruins head coach Don Cherry ordered his players to put their sticks up whenever they encountered Lafleur. At the end of the series, Lafleur's head was swathed in bandages after numerous slashes from Bruin players. After Montreal won the Stanley Cup, he borrowed it for the weekend without telling anyone to show his friends back home in Thurso where he set it out on his front lawn for all his neighbors to see.
In 1979, Lafleur released an album called 'Lafleur'. The album consisted of Guy Lafleur reciting hockey instructions and singing, accompanied by disco music.
While driving home on March 24, 1981, Lafleur fell asleep at the wheel of his Cadillac and crashed into a highway fence. He was nearly decapitated when a metal post pierced the windshield missing his head by inches while tearing off part of his ear.
With Scotty Bowman, Ken Dryden, Jacques Lemaire, and several other key players retiring after the conclusion of the 1979 season, the Canadiens' dynasty came to an end, losing in the second round of the 1980 playoffs to the Minnesota North Stars in seven games. Injuries shortened Lafleur's 1980–1981 season and his production dropped significantly (during the previous six seasons, Lafleur had hit or exceeded 100 points and 50 goals). In the following seasons, he was being overshadowed by Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky. During the 1984–1985 season, after scoring only two goals in 19 games and unhappy with the amount of ice time he was receiving, he decided to retire.
During his first game back in the Montreal Forum, he scored twice against Patrick Roy during the Rangers' 7–5 loss to the Canadiens. As in his heydey with the Habs, the Forum crowd chanted "Guy! Guy! Guy!" every time he touched the puck, and he received huge ovations for each goal, and when he was introduced as the game's first star. Although his high-scoring days were well behind him, his stint with the Rangers was moderately successful and he helped the team to first place in the Patrick Division until being knocked out by a knee injury.
Lafleur then followed dismissed Rangers head coach and close friend Michel Bergeron to the Nordiques for his final seasons. Intending to finish his hockey career in Quebec where he had started, he reportedly turned down a $1 million offer from the Los Angeles Kings. He managed 24 goals in 98 games with the Nordiques over two seasons, the 38-year-old was still among the team's best players while receiving diminished ice time.
He won three Art Ross Trophies (1976, 1977, 1978), two Hart Memorial Trophies (1977, 1978), three Lester B. Pearson Awards (1976, 1977, 1978), and one Conn Smythe Trophy (1977). He was a member of the Canadian team in the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cup tournaments, winning the Cup in 1976, and was the recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1977.
Lafleur was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Along with Gordie Howe before him and Mario Lemieux after him, Lafleur is one of only three players to have returned to the NHL after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He still holds the record for the most career point and assist totals in Montreal Canadiens history, as well as the second-highest goal total behind Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Lafleur was the sixth Montreal Canadiens' player to have his sweater number retired.
In April 2001, Lafleur placed 122 items - including 5 miniature Stanley Cups, 6 miniature Prince of Wales trophies, 1977 Conn Smythe Trophy, 3 Art Ross trophies, Hockey Hall of Fame plaque and ring, games-used jerseys, 4 Stanley Cup rings, and the first skates he ever wore - for sale. The items' selling prices totalled approximately $400,000 USD.
In 1998, he was ranked number 11 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Lafleur's son Mark had a number of run-ins with the law, including charges for sexual assault. Part of Mark's bail conditions was that he remain at his father's house. In 2008, questions about Lafleur's testimony in his son's case resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for Lafleur, which his lawyer criticized as an unnecessary embarrassment.
|1966–67||Quebec Junior Aces||QJHL||8||1||1||2||0||--||--||--||--||--|
|1967–68||Quebec Junior Aces||QJHL||43||30||19||49||0||--||--||--||--||--|
|1968–69||Quebec Junior Aces||QJHL||49||50||60||110||83||--||--||--||--||--|
|1988–89||New York Rangers||NHL||67||18||27||45||12||4||1||0||1||0|