"The Magnificent" Lemieux was born on September 5, 1965,
in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
an early age, Mario dominated the game of hockey at every level
he played. Mario played for Canada in the 1983 World Junior Championships
and recorded 10 points on the bronze medal winning team. In his
final year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Lemieux
scored a record 133 goals and added 149 assists for 282 points
in 70 games for the Laval Titan.
was named Canadian Junior Hockey Player of the year and was selected
first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1984 NHL entry
draft. On his first NHL shift against the Boston Bruins, Lemieux
would steal the puck from Bruin great Ray Bourque and score his
first NHL goal on Pete Peeters. Mario went on to chalk up 100
points in his rookie campaign and was awarded the Calder Trophy
as best first year player. Lemieux recorded 100+ point season
the next couple of seasons and emerged as a dominating NHL player.
One of his most famous goals though was scored as he played for
team Canada, in the 1987 Canada Cup. He took a pass from Wayne
Gretzky and beat Soviet goalie Sergei Mylnikov at 18:34 of the
third period to get Canada a 6-5 lead and eventual victory in
the Canada Cup fianl. The 1987-88 regular season was dominated
by Lemieux as he tallied 70 goals and 98 assists for 168 points,
good enough to win the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy
as most valuable player in the league. His battles with Wayne
Gretzky continued as Mario scored a personal best 199 points in
1988-89, 57 more than Gretzky and good enough for another Art
Ross. Always a great talent with excellent physical attributes
like strength, size, and a long wingspan, Lemieux had to endure
physical ailments throughout his career. Back injuires saw his
miss ice-time beginning in 1989-90 and he only played in 26 games
in the 1990-91 season. His return in the second half of that year
saw the Pittsburgh Penguins win their first Stanley Cup Championship.
The team was led by Lemieux who recorded 44 points to win the
Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Pittsburg and Mario would go
on to win their second Stanley Cup the following year.
of 1993 Mario Lemieux's health problems took a turn for the worse
as he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a treatable form of
cancer. Lemieux missed 23 games as he got radiation treatment,
but still managed to comeback and win the scoring title. Lemieux
would take the entire 1994-95 season off to recover from his back
injuries and other ailments, but would come back to win two Art
Ross and a Hart Trophy before announcing his retirement in 1997.
The Hockey Hall of Fame waived its waiting period and inducted
Lemieux in November, 1997. Having been in retirement for three
years, Mario made a surprise comeback with the Pittsburgh Penguins
in the 2000-01 season. His production numbers were nothing but
awesome in a league that had become notorious for cluthing, grabbing
and defensive play. His health was still a problem as he only
played 24 games in 2001-02 but followed that up with a 67 game
performce the following year, tallying up 91 points.