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Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur dies at 70

Jul 5, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Former Montreal Canadiens player Guy Lafleur waves to the crowd during the first period against Tampa Bay Lightning in game four of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Legendary former Montreal Canadiens forward Guy Lafleur died Friday morning. He was 70.

The cause of death was not immediately known, however Lafleur had been battling lung cancer for nearly three years.

Lafleur underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in September 2019 and had surgery two months later to remove the upper lobe of one of his lungs as well as the lymph nodes. The Hockey Hall of Famer also acknowledged in October 2020 that he had experienced a recurrence of lung cancer.

Nicknamed “The Flower,” Lafleur was a five-time Stanley Cup champion for the Canadiens (1973, 1976-79) and twice won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP (1976-77, 1977-78). He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1977 as MVP of the playoffs.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Guy Lafleur,” Canadiens president Geoff Molson said in a statement. “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.”

Lafleur scored 518 goals and tallied 1,246 points in 14 seasons with the Canadiens (1971-85). He was the first player in NHL history at record at least 50 goals and 100 points in six consecutive seasons.

“You didn’t need to see Guy Lafleur’s name and number on his sweater when ‘The Flower’ had the puck on his stick,” 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.”

Lafleur requested a trade prior to the 1984-85 season and retired after playing 19 games when a move wasn’t made. He later came out of retirement and played one season for the New York Rangers (1988-89) and two with the Quebec Nordiques (1989-91).

He retired again in 1991, finishing his NHL career with 1,353 points (560 goals, 793 assists) in 1,126 games.

Lafleur was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 before starting his comeback.

He was named one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players of All Time” in 2017 by the league. He was the sixth Canadiens player to have his number (No. 10) retired.

–Field Level Media