Guy Lafleur, a Hall of Famer and a key figure for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s, died Friday after a three-year battle with cancer. He is 70 years old.
First drafted by the Habs in 1971, LaFleur became the cornerstone of the team’s championship victory over the next decade. During that time, he won five Stanley Cups, and he was awarded the Consmyth Award after Montreal beat the Boston Bruins in the 1977 Stanley Cup Final. He also won two Hart Memorial Trophies and three Art Ross Trophies, and was a six-time All-Star.
LaFleur retired from hockey at age 33 after the 1984-85 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. He then returned to the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordics, becoming the only other Hall of Famers to return to the league besides Gordy Howe and Mario Lemieux.
Lafleur, a Quebecer, died in a suburb not far from Montreal.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Guy LaFleur,” Canadiens owner Jeff Molson said in a statement on the official NHL website. “All members of the Canadiens are devastated by his passing. Guy LaFleur had an extraordinary career, always keeping it simple, approachable and in close contact with Habs and hockey fans in Quebec, Canada and around the world . Throughout his career, he has allowed us to experience great moments of collective pride. He is one of the greatest players in our organization while being an extraordinary ambassador for our sport…”