MONTREAL (AP) — Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur, who helped the Montreal Canadiens win five Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s, has died at the age of 70.
The cause of death was not immediately known, but Lafleur had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Guy Lafleur. All members of the Canadiens organization are devastated by his passing,” Canadiens president Geoff Molson said in a statement.
“Guy Lafleur has had an exceptional career and has always remained simple, accessible and close to Canadians and hockey fans in Quebec, Canada and around the world. Throughout his career, he has allowed us to experience great moments of collective pride. He was one of the greatest players in our organization while becoming an extraordinary ambassador for our sport.
One of the greatest players of his generation, Lafleur scored 518 goals and 728 assists in 14 seasons with Montreal.
The first pick in the 1971 NHL Draft added 133 points (57 goals, 76 assists) in 124 playoff games.
Nicknamed “The Flower”, he retired after the 1984-85 season, but returned in 1988-89 with the New York Rangers. He played the next two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before hanging up his skates for good.
“You didn’t need to see Guy Lafleur’s name and number on his jersey when ‘The Flower’ had the puck on his stick,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “As stylish as he is remarkably talented, Lafleur has a dashing and unmistakable figure every time he took to the ice at the Montreal Forum, his long blonde locks flowing in his wake as he prepared to fire another puck ahead. a helpless goalkeeper – or to set up a teammate for a goal.
Lafleur was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019, when tumors were discovered by doctors performing an emergency quadruple heart bypass.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports