Postcard | Continuation of Guy Lafleur’s work

(Tampa) Chantal Machabée warned us when it came time to coordinate the meeting with Martin Lafleur. “He’s fine like his father, he never refuses a request! »

Posted at 6:00 am

Guillaume Lefrançois

Guillaume Lefrançois
The press

And sure enough, Martin Lafleur calls us Tuesday morning to set up a meeting after the NHL Cup ceremony.

So we meet in front of his hotel in the evening. An hour earlier, he had presented the Ted Lindsay Trophy, which the other players voted to give to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. A trophy his father, Guy, won three years in a row, from 1976 to 1978, when the award was named after Lester B. Pearson.

Accompanied by Sportsnet colleague David Amber, he presented the trophy to Auston Matthews. The announcement followed the tribute to hockey people who passed away last year, a video that started with Clark Gillies and Matiss Kivlenieks and ended with Mike Bossy and Guy Lafleur.

He used his evening to chat with Matthews, but also with Claude Lemieux and Joe Sakic, who played with his father for the Quebec Nordiques for two years from 1989 to 1991. Martin Lafleur has very specific memories of Sakic, and no, these aren’t tales of mini hockey matches in the Nordiques dressing room…

“I remember with Tony Hrkac Joe used to try and take me to Scrooge’s for a drink! the 47-year-old starts, still amused. For example, my father was not so happy! But I was glad to see her again. I took the initiative to shake hands with Joe. »

Martin Lafleur is accompanied by his wife Angelica. “The league has taken care of everything, they invite us here with my wife and we are very well received,” he explains.

And no, saying no was not a question, because anyone who knew the father knows that that was never one of his possible answers. Even when he was ill, he continued to give interviews when his health permitted.

Martin Lafleur was scheduled to leave Tampa around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to go to Ontario for another event on behalf of his father.

I also represent my family and am honored to do these events because my father would have done it.

Martin Lafleur

“We lived it at Ardent Chapel. It completely changed the perception we had of the supporters, he continues. It was always a challenge for us. The fans, we appreciate them, but they have taken many moments from our lives. But we don’t blame them! It was positive, it was for a photo, an autograph.

“But at Ardent Chapel, people came up to us to tell us about the person. Not for hockey trivia. They were people who were touched either by a phone call from my father or by a visit to the hospital. Or it was a father who wanted to help his son like my father did to my brother. It was human and it changed me because I think it’s so important to continue this charity. »

Martin Lafleur will continue his father’s work by acting as ambassador for the Fondation du CHUM, a role Guy Lafleur held until his death. The Guy Lafleur Fund has raised $1.7 million, he says. Martin, he dreams of the number 10 million.

This is one way to deal with grief. On Wednesday, two months have passed since the blonde demon left us.

“It hasn’t crossed my mind yet. I worked with him, I played with him in the Anciens Canadiens for seven years, I was in business with him. It’s a big part of my life that’s gone. It will be a long time before I feel better. Such events are comforting, with our hockey world, in the hockey environment. These are beautiful moments that let me experience things through him.

“Events like tonight [mardi], it’s positive, it’s meant to pay tribute to extraordinary people. I try to see it differently. And it gives me some kind of closure. It allows you to live it in a more positive way because I know there will always be events related to my father. And it’s important to keep the Lafleur name alive. »

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