the thurso kid

Le Démon Blond: “The class of hockey,” winger Wayne Cashman of the Boston Bruins called Montreal’s Guy Lafleur in the late 1970s, when the two teams weren’t exactly kindred spirits. “Guy Lafleur is Guy Lafleur,” added Bruins’ coach Don Cherry, around that same time: “the greatest hockey player in the world today, bar none.” Anything to add, other Bruins’ winger John Wensink? “Guy Lafleur better have eyes in the back of his head, because I’m going to cut his ears off,” Wensink offered after a particularly spiteful encounter between the two teams in the playoffs for the 1977 Stanley Cup. Lafleur was supposed to have aimed a slapshot at the Bruins’ Mike Milbury and … but no. Whatever he did or didn’t do back then, on Lafleur’s birthday, let’s stick with the superlatives. “Quick, decisive, confident,” is what teammate Ken Dryden wrote of Thurso, Quebec’s own Flower, who turns now 67; “ever threatening, his jersey rippling, his hair streaming back the way no one else’s hair did.” That’s Lafleur’s statue above, photographed one November evening out where it guards the approaches to Montreal’s Bell Centre, on  permanent duty with his fellow tricolore titans, Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, and Jean Béliveau.

(Image: Stephen Smith)

maliotenam

The Roman Catholic Church ran the Sept-Îles Indian Residential School at Maliotenam, Quebec, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, from 1952 through 1967. This photograph of the school’s hockey team isn’t dated, but it looks to have been taken at some point in the ’60s. Appearing in the back row, from left to right: Père Laurent, Thaddeus André, Omer Rock, Jules Bacon, Donald St-Onge, Mathias Malec, unidentified boy, unidentified boy, Frère Trudel. Front row, left to right: Valentin Jourdain, Louis Georges Prépeau, unidentified boy, Charles St-Onge, Sylvester Rock. (Image: Library and Archives Canada / PA-212964)

pas un pays

Media baron Pierre Karl Péladeau announced this week that he was resigning his position as chairman of the board of Hydro Québec to run for the Parti Québécois in Quebec’s April 7 election, which isn’t a really a hockey story, except insofar as the former president and CEO of Quebecor is an enthusiastic backer of building a new rink in Quebec City that might, possibly, fingers crossed, lead to a return of the NHL to the provincial capital. Which is why commissioner Gary Bettman found himself answering a Péladeau question at the league meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, on Wednesday in that way Bettman has of not really answering the question. Yes, Quebecor has expressed interest in an NHL franchise, Bettman said. “I wish Mr. Péladeau well in his next endeavour, but to the extent that Quebecor or somebody in Quebec City might or might not be interested, that didn’t change.”

Meanwhile, back on the election trail, Liberal MNA Sam Hamad suggested that Péladeau’s sense of the people’s priorities were all mixed up. “Les gens de Québec,” he told reporters, “veulent une équipe de hockey, pas un pays.”