Guy Lafleur: After the tears, the smile

The number 10 shimmered over Guy Lafleur’s closed coffin on the first day of the laying out at the Bell Centre.

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To the left of the banner were the trophies of Art-Ross, Ted-Lindsay, Hart, Conn-Smythe, the Stanley Cup and a helicopter, a great passion of the blond demon. On the right we found the family members of the deceased, who received the condolences of the population.

The scene was solemn. It was sober but beautiful at the same time.

“It’s beautiful at the Bell Centre,” said Yvon Lambert. I find that remarkable. It’s Guy Lafleur, it’s great. »

“I’ve been repeating myself for a week. But it’s really serious. With people waiting outside to enter the Bell Centre, it’s a picture of Guy Lafleur’s life, Lambert added. He was a popular man. He embodied generosity and kindness. »

“Guy was good when he made people happy,” added Réjean Houle. When we had events, Guy always made sure to give souvenirs to everyone, parents, children or grandparents. »

“Guy was happy to make the world happy,” Houle added. Sometimes we had items for the foundation. We had four or five to give away. Guy called us “I want 50”. He signed the 50 articles and gave them to his world. He had a natural generosity. It did him good. »

Guy Lafleur | 1951-2022

Mar. 30, 1991 – An ovation for Guy Lafleur in his last game at the Forum, wearing the Nordiques shirt. Archive / Le Journal de Montreal

Guy Lafleur during his years at Le Canadien Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images


The Canadian Hockey Club presents the recipients of the 2017-2018 Guy-Lafleur Excellence and Merit Awards CHANTAL POIRIER / LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Guy Lafleur during the final game of his farewell tour at the Bell Center on Sunday December 5, 2010. Sébastien St-Jean / 24Heures / Agency QMI

September 11, 1971 – On the eve of his first training camp with the Montreal Canadiens, Guy Lafleur took his first opportunity to skate on the Forum rink. In the photo he is with Jean Béliveau. Archive / Le Journal de Montreal

Autographed photo of Guy Lafleur in his Quebec Remparts uniform courtesy

Guy Lafleur at the retirement evening of Guy Lafleur’s number 4 at the Slush Puppie Center in Gatineau on Wednesday 29th September 2021 MARTIN CHEVALIER / LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Guy Lafleur and his banner as part of the retirement evening of Guy Lafleur’s number 4 at the Slush Puppie Center in Gatineau on Wednesday 29th September 2021 MARTIN CHEVALIER / LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Guy Lafleur’s final game against the Quebec Nordiques on March 30, 1991 in Montreal Archive / Le Journal de Montreal

Sculpture by Guy Lafleur in bronze Archive / Le Journal de Montreal

Guy Lafleur, Pee-Wee Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament Collection, Modern Photo Fund

Guy Lafleur, Pee-Wee Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament Collection, Modern Photo Fund

Guy Lafleur and the trophies of Art Ross, Conn Smythe and Lester B. Pearson, Montreal Forum, 1976 Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Guy Lafleur, then a member of Team Canada, signs autographs during practice for the Canada Cup, Montreal 1976 Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawks Guy Lafleur and goaltender Murray Bannerman #30, Montreal Forum 1980 Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Guy Lafleur and goaltender Mike Palmateer of the Toronto Maple Leafs Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

March 7, 1975 – Guy Lafleur becomes the first player in Canadian history to score 100 points in a single season in an 8-4 win over the Washington Capitals Archive / Le Journal de Montreal

Guy Lafleur on the bench during Game 3 vs. Boston Bruins, Boston Gardens, 1977 Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Announcing the first retirement of Guy Lafleur The Archives / The Journal of Montreal

The QMJHL restores Guy Lafleur’s number 4 on Thursday, October 28, 2021 at the Videotron Center in Quebec STEVENS LEBLANC / JOURNAL DE QUEBEC / QMI AGENCY


In the head coach’s press conference room at the Bell Centre, Houle and Lambert happily traded anecdotes about their accomplice and friend.

“Guy Lafleur drove 100 miles an hour everywhere,” Houle said. 100 miles an hour driving to Quebec. 100 mph skating on ice and 100 mph on Crescent Street. »

Lambert interpreted this quote as a perfect transmission of his palette.

“Apparently it’s true. Guy and Gilles Villeneuve we drive from the Lafontaine tunnel to the old Quebec bridge in 58 minutes. The pedal was on the lower tabarouette. »

One beer after the other

Lambert, the author of the winning goal in overtime in Game 7 of the semifinals against the Boston Bruins on May 10, 1979, smiled as he recalled the highlight of his career. Lafleur equalized late in the third period to win 5-4.

“Guy gave birth to me in 1979,” he said. I’ve known the glory for 24 hours. I was asked and realized what Guy Lafleur’s life was like. »

Houle also recalled his famous teammate’s big heart.

“When we won and went out after a game, Guy always took the bill. He refused to see the other boys pay. He was happy staying with us. »

“As a superstar, you get asked everywhere,” Lambert continued. Guy Carbonneau had said so, but he never saw Flower come to practice in jeans. He was always well dressed as he always had requests for him. »

“We could have a beer and eat something after training. As I always say, we had beer after beer. We also had to talk. We talked about our defeat in our last 15 games. »

No ball player

There was hockey in the winter, but also softball tours in the summer.

“Guy coached us on the ball,” Houle said. He wasn’t a good ball player. Despite everything, when we got somewhere everyone wanted to know if Guy was there. »

“He wasn’t a good golfer or a good ball player, but he wasn’t any worse at hockey,” Lambert added. Larry Robinson was quite the ball player. Pierre Mondou and Ken Dryden too, but not Guy. »

If they had shed some tears over the past few days, Lambert and Houle had a lighter heart on this day of meditation.

“I know Guy and I know he’d love to see us smile,” Lambert said.

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