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The 1970s: The decade that launched the QMJHL

 

With this season marking its 50th anniversary, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will be celebrating the milestone in a number of ways. One of those initiatives will be the unveiling of an all-star team for each of the League’s past five decades.

Each one of those teams will be comprised of 23 players and two coaches who impacted the history of the League in their own way, and were selected by a 22-person panel comprised of former players and general managers, journalists, statisticians and scouts.

In the first segment of its rich history, the QMJHL is proud to reveal the list of 13 forwards, seven defencemen, three goalies and two coaches who have marked the League’s very first years. These 25 individuals represent the rich tradition of the QMJHL – a league born out of the fusion of the provincial and metropolitan Junior A ranks.

Looking at this group of 25 names, it makes the most sense to begin with Guy Lafleur – the QMJHL’s first superstar who also helped launch the league. In 1969-70 and 1970-71, the man who wore number 4 for the Quebec Remparts posted seasons of 103 and 130 goals. While he would go on to score 560 goals in the NHL, Lafleur remains the only player in QMJHL history to have twice cracked the 100-goal mark in a season.

In May 1971, he also led the Remparts to a Memorial Cup title alongside Jacques Richard, Andre Savard, Jacques Locas and their head coach Maurice Filion, who are all on the QMJHL’s list of all-stars from the 1970’s. Speaking of Savard, he still holds the record for most points in a playoff game with 12, a feat he managed on February 5, 1971, against the Rosemont National, a feat that’s been standing for almost 48 years now.

Also, among the constellation of stars from the 70’s are Pierre Larouche and Jacques Cossette of the 1972-73 and 1973-74 Sorel Eperviers. Two thirds of a prolific line that also included Michel Deziel, Larouche and Cossette piled up almost 700 combined points in those years during the QMJHL’s heyday.

Another unanimous selection on this all-star team of the 1970’s is none other than Mike Bossy, who helped launch junior hockey in Laval in a National’s uniform. Over his four years in junior, Bossy never potted fewer than 70 goals. When he graduated from the QMJHL, the would-be four-time Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders had scored 309 goals – the highest total of any player in Canadian junior history and a benchmark that isn’t about to be matched given today’s style of play.

Two-time QMJHL scoring champ Jean-Francois Sauve, as well as Real Cloutier, Denis Savard, Normand Dupont, Normand Aubin and Richard Leduc round out the list of forwards from that era to have earned a spot on this all-star squad.

On the blue line, three Quebec Remparts defencemen from the late 1970’s made the list: Pierre Lacroix, Gaston Therrien and Kevin Lowe. As for Lacroix, he still holds the record for most points in a season by a defenceman with 137, a mark he set while skating for the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs in 1978-79. The group of seven defencemen is capped by Raymond Bourque, Robert Picard and two Cornwall Royals d-men; Bob Murray and Dave Ezard.

Between the pipes, the QMJHL has produced some excellent goalies over the years. In the 1970’s, the crease was ruled by the likes of Jacques Cloutier, Tim Bernhardt and Richard Brodeur. These three QMJHL Hall of Famers may not boast the stats of their brethren from the 2000s, but in an era where many more goals were scored than today, they certainly were difference makers. Despite standing only 5-foot-7, Cloutier remains the all-time leader for career regular season wins (142) and his 58 wins in 1979-80 is another record that isn’t about to be broken.

Finally, the two coaches selected by the panel to represent the first decade of QMJHL history are Maurice Filion and Orval Tessier. Filion guided the Remparts to the Memorial Cup in 1971, while Tessier did the same with the Cornwall Royals the following season.

FORWARDS

  • Guy Lafleur
  • Pierre Larouche
  • Michel Bossy
  • André Savard
  • Jean-François Sauvé
  • Réal Cloutier
  • Jacques Jr. Locas
  • Jacques Richard
  • Denis Savard
  • Normand Dupont
  • Normand Aubin
  • Jacques Cossette
  • Richard Leduc

DEFENSEMEN

  • Raymond Bourque
  • Robert Picard
  • Pierre Lacroix
  • Gaston Therrien
  • Robert Murray
  • Kevin Lowe
  • David Ezard

GOALTENDERS

  • Jacques Cloutier
  • Tim Bernhardt
  • Richard Brodeur

COACHES

  • Maurice Fillion
  • Orval Tessier

Special contribution, Stéphane Leroux.

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