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 our committee selected as the best ever in the QMJHL’s 50-year history is Guy Lafleur.
Guy Lafleur or Mario Lemieux: who is the best ever? The debate can rage on for years, but our selection committee ultimately gave “Flower” the nod as the top player over the first 50 years.
After all, he is the only player in “Q” history to have two consecutive 100-goal seasons. After scoring 103 goals in the league’s inaugural season in 1969-70, Lafleur then put up 130 the following season, the year he helped lead the Quebec Remparts to a Memorial Cup crown. That team became the first Quebec-based team to ever win junior hockey’s top crown. His record of 130 goals in a season would stand until 1983-84 when Mario Lemieux (No. 2 on our list) scored 133 goals.
In only 118 QMJHL regular season games, Lafleur scored an incredible 233 goals for an average of 1.98 goals per game – a CHL record that still stands today. The native of Thurso, QC, also collected 146 career assists bringing his points total to 379 points in two seasons.
Lafleur was just as dangerous come playoff time with 47 goals in 29 games over his two postseason runs. The former No. 4 for the Remparts is one of three players in QMJHL history to have scored five goals in a single period, having been the first to do it back on February 5, 1971, on a night that saw him record seven goals and four assists. He tallied those five goals in only 14 minutes. His 38-career hat tricks are a record that has stood 48 years and counting and is in little peril of being broken.
Lafleur then became the first player in league history to be chosen first overall in the NHL Entry Draft. Thanks to an amazing career that would include 560 goals with the Canadiens, Rangers and Nordiques, he would become the first QMJHL alum to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
The Guy-Lafleur Trophy was created in his honour to recognize the QMJHL Playoffs MVP since 1977-78. Lafleur was inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame fittingly on the night it was created on February 20, 1997.