The 50th Anniversary of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will be celebrated in a number of ways this season. One of which is a countdown of the league’s 50 greatest players based solely on their QMJHL accomplishments. They stand out among 9511 players who played in the QMJHL over the past 50 years. Yours truly was part of the committee entrusted with the difficult task of making these selections.
The player ranked at No. 10 in the QMJHL’s 50-year history is Patrice Lefebvre.
A Montreal native, Patrice Lefebvre was certainly not one of the biggest players of his era where toughness and physical play were the norm in junior hockey. Despite standing at 5-foot-5 and tipping the scales at 165 pounds, this fourth-round pick of the Shawinigan Cataractes in 1984 electrified fans in the Mauricie region over the course of his 276-game career. In total he collected 595 points – more points than any other player in CHL history.
The ultimate playmaker and product of the AAA Midget Montreal-Concordia squad, Lefebvre put up 80 points as a rookie in 1984-85, helping the Cataractes to first overall in the league standings as they hosted the Memorial Cup Tournament. Shawinigan ultimately lost in the final to the Prince Albert Raiders. With many veterans moving on ahead of the following season, Lefebvre and his trusty sidekick, Stephan Lebeau (No. 23 on our list), picked up the slack. Lefebvre put up 136, 179 and 200-point seasons to become one of only 10 players in League history to post a 200-point campaign and the last player to do so since 1987-88.
Lefebvre remains the only player in the first half-century of the QMJHL to reach the 400-assist mark, making him the top set-up man in league history. By dishing out 122 assists in 1986-87 and 136 helpers in 1987-88, he became the only Q player to ever top 120 assists twice. He was also named to the League’s first All-Star team in each of his two final seasons in the league.
It was only fitting that Patrice took his rightful place in the QMJHL Hall of Fame on the night it was created on February 20, 1997. His No. 17 was retired by the oldest franchise (Cataractes) in 1993. Lefebvre went on to enjoy a 20-year career in both Europe and the International Hockey League where he still ranks ninth in career points by a left-winger with 576 points in 458 games. Furthermore, he played three NHL games with the Washington Capitals in 1998-99.