QMJHL Hall of Fame – The Class of 2023 announced
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League revealed its newest Hall of Fame members tonight on RDS. These ambassadors left their mark on the league’s rich history and will join many other significant players and builders in the QMJHL Hall of Fame.
The 2023 class is made up of:
- Dave EZARD
- Stéphane RICHER
- Alain VIGNEAULT
The induction ceremony will be held on June 8, 2023. This year’s class will be joined by the class of 2020: Simon Gamache, Clément Jodoin, Roberto Luongo, Stéphane Robidas and Ricky Vaive. Their induction ceremony was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The location of this year’s ceremony will be announced at a later date.
- DAVE EZARD
In his very first game in the QMJHL, he collected two points, scoring the first of his 112 goals (regular season and playoffs). His 112 career goals still hold as a league record for most goals scored by a QMJHL defenseman at the time of his induction in 2023.
On top of his exceptional skating skills and an above-average vision for the game, it is Ezard’s shot, often described as a “missile” (low, precise, and incredibly powerful), that terrified a multitude of goaltenders.
He is the only defenseman in QMJHL history to register two consecutive 35-goal seasons. In 1979-80, he broke the record for most goals scored by a defenseman by finding the back of the net 40 times, a QMJHL record he held for 18 years. That same season, as a 20-year-old, his 105 points put him atop his team’s scoring race, just ahead of star forwards Dale Hawerchuk and Daniel Daoust.
In the 1980 playoffs, his 24 points in 18 games were key to his team’s President Cup victory. In the Memorial Cup tournament that followed, he was named the “Most Valuable Player” as the Cornwall Royals, against all odds, confirmed their supremacy in Canadian Major Junior Hockey with a 3-2 overtime win over Peterborough in the championship final.
He holds and shares dozens of records from the Cornwall Royals’ 12 seasons. He amassed 245 points in the regular season and added another 45 in the playoffs. Ezard also tied teammate Robert Murray’s record six-point game for a Royals’ defenseman.
FULL ARTICLE AND STATS: https://theqmjhl.ca/david-ezard/
- STÉPHANE RICHER
Powerful, elegant and spectacular athlete, but extremely humble, those are qualities that define Stéphane Richer. His brief but remarkable stint in the QMJHL left no one indifferent, especially opposing goaltenders.
In only 124 games, over two regular seasons with the Granby Bisons and Chicoutimi Saguenéens, he scored 100 goals thanks to his devestating shot and his clever dekes. His junior highlights include seven games of three or more goals, and a streak of 27 straight games with at least one point.
Throughout his major junior career, the 6’2”, 185-pound forward collected 196 points with an additional 28 points coming in 15 playoff games. In 1983-84, he was awarded the Michel-Bergeron Trophy as QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year thanks to a 39-goal, 76-point season.
After winning a gold medal with Canada at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he recorded seven points in as many games, he was traded from Granby to Chicoutimi. He concluded that second season with a total of 61 goals in 57 games.
FULL ARTICLE AND STATS: https://theqmjhl.ca/stephane-richer/
- ALAIN VIGNEAULT
Before becoming a hockey coach, Vigneault was a solid defenseman who reached the National Hockey League. In the QMJHL, from 1977 to 1981, he played for the Hull Olympiques and the Trois-Rivières Draveurs. He was one of the toughest players in the game, as displayed by his 768 penalty minutes. He also filled the score sheet with his offensive production ; 47 goals and 243 points in 291 games (regular season and playoffs).
In 1986, still only 25 years old, he was called by the Trois-Rivières Draveurs to coach at the major junior level. The following season, in 1987-88, he returned to familiar territory to coach the Hull Olympiques under the direction of General Manager Charles Henry. Following in Pat Burns’ footsteps, he quickly took control of the team by rallying team leaders Marc Saumier, Benoit Brunet, Cam Russell, Daniel Shank and Stephane Matteau behind his philosophy. The Olympiques would go on to win the President Cup as the 1988 playoff champions.
His outstanding work ethic would enable him to work with Canada’s National Junior Team on two occasions: in 1989 and 1991. Canada captured gold at the 1991 World Juniors tournament, with Vigneault serving as an assistant coach.
His achievements were impressive enough that the NHL came knocking. From 1992 to 1995, he was an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators. He then returned to his roots for a second stint in the QMJHL, taking charge of the Beauport Harfangs at the mid-season point of the 1995-96 campaign. In the spring, his team lost in the QMJHL final to the would-be Memorial Cup champions, the Granby Prédateurs. After working his way back to the NHL ranks, he would later return to the QMJHL, from 2002 to 2005, this time with the Montreal/PEI Rocket.
In 11 seasons in the QMJHL, he enjoyed eight winning seasons and a record of 385 wins in 767 games. In the National Hockey League, his teams won 722 times in 1363 games, including 10 seasons of 40 or more wins. In the playoffs, his teams won 78 of their 155 games.
FULL ARTICLE AND STATS: https://theqmjhl.ca/alain-vigneault/