Volume 90, Issue 67

Thursday, January 23, 1997




Hall of Fame left winger for the Montreal Canadiens

Following a long line of French-Canadian superstars, Guy Lafleur had the weight of an entire province heaped upon his shoulders the day he joined the Montreal Canadiens. Following in the footsteps of Jean Beliveau, "le demon blond" is remembered equally for his flowing locks and off-wing rushes. Retiring prematurely from the Canadiens and having been inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Lafleur made a return to the NHL for the New York Rangers and the Quebec Nordiques, before finally hanging them up. James Pugsley caught up with "The Flower" recently and had these questions to ask.

PUGS: What were you doing when Kennedy was assassinated?

LAFLEUR: I was at my parents' place, I was 10-years old I think. Kennedy was my hero. I was playing outside and was very upset to hear about that. I really idolized that man. I thought he was doing great things. I don't know why I liked him, he was the president of the United States and didn't have anything to do with Canada or the province of Quebec, but I had a lot of respect for that man.

PUGS: Do you remember your first day as a Montreal Canadien?

LAFLEUR: I remember when I first got to the training camp. To be sitting beside Henri Richard, Ken Dryden, Frank Mahavolich, Claude Larose, Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire, Yvan Cournoyer – I was just pinching myself to really see if it was for real.

PUGS: Were there any memories that you felt had a direct impact on French Canada?

LAFLEUR: The death of Gilles Villeneuve was something I just couldn't believe. I think that it really hit home in Quebec. In Canada a little bit, maybe because he was the first one to really break into Formula One as a Canadian and do well.

PUGS: What's it like now to see Jacques succeed?

LAFLEUR: I have known Jacques since he was about five or six years old. It's fantastic. I remember going to Mount Tremblant with him and Gilles and we raced. We were trying to raise money so Gilles could finance his last race. We tried to raise as much money as we could.

PUGS: Did you succeed?

LAFLEUR: No. And I didn't win the race either.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997