Lafleur hits the West Coast for Hockey Day
Guy Lafleur. (SUBMITTED)
Vancouver was little more than a sleepy West Coast stopover during hockey legend Guy Lafleur’s 1970s heyday when he won five Stanley Cups as a Montreal Canadien.
But on the few occasions a road trip would take ‘The Flower’ to Rain City, the NHL Hall of Famer said the Pacific Coliseum would become electrified as crowds cheered for both the Habs and Canucks.
“It was very special at the beginning because you don’t expect that when you go and play in another city,” he recalled.
Lafleur is currently in Vancouver for one of his rare trips to the Lower Mainland for the free Hockey Day in Canada celebration Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval. The star attraction will be spending the day signing autographs and chitchatting with the fans.
The day includes a Canucks alumni game, a display of NHL memorabilia, hockey and skating clinics and a floorball demonstration, among others.
Despite the Canucks improvement in recent years from their woeful beginnings when Lafleur played, the three-time Art Ross Trophy winner and devoted Canadiens fan admitted he can’t think of a single Vancouver player he really cares for.
Although games in Vancouver were infrequent for him, Lafleur came close to playing on the West Coast in his rookie season before Montreal traded with the last-place California Golden Seals to secure the top pick in the 1971 draft.
“A lot of times I think about it and I know my career would be a lot different,” he said with a chuckle. “It really helped me out playing with so many great players (in Montreal).”