Lafleur helps fellow cancer sufferers on Canadiens tale’s day with Cup

Man Lafleur has cradled the Stanley Cup in his palms extra times than he can depend. 

The Montreal Canadiens icon has frolicked with the helpful trophy at sad-tie events and at informal affairs, with captains of alternate and captains of peewee groups, at gourmet banquets beneath cathedral ceilings and below the vinyl roofs of celebration tents with hot dogs and burgers on the menu.

On Sunday, below a cloudless sky, Lafleur welcomed the Stanley Cup to his dwelling within the suburbs west of Montreal, and never had hockey’s holy grail intended extra to him. By no methodology changed into once the trophy extra radiant, never changed into once its inner most significance in sharper point of curiosity.

Every three weeks since January, the 69-three hundred and sixty five days-used Canadiens tale has arrived at a Montreal clinic for a spherical of cancer therapy, 10 minutes of chemotherapy adopted by 30 minutes of immunotherapy. A day earlier, he would occupy long gone for a blood take a look at to take care of for the session.

Man Lafleur’s time with the Stanley Cup on June 6 incorporated an tournament to lend a hand promote his cancer-analysis fund.

For a time, he changed into once getting radiation therapy, cancer having metastasized from his lungs to his ribs. He says that doctors are tickled with how he’s responding to that aggressive therapy.

Lafleur never knows how he’ll react to the chemo and immunotherapy, which as piece of his two-three hundred and sixty five days program is scheduled to proceed every three weeks for one more 18 months, with scans performed every eight weeks.

Early on, he’d be flattened by it, wanting to sleep 18 or 20 hours the next day. The final few remedies, he said with reduction, occupy taken much less of a toll.

Video: The hockey world sends its toughen to Man Lafleur

It is been a tremendously no longer easy avenue since September 2019, when a routine checkup revealed that Lafleur had four practically completely blocked coronary arteries. Lung cancer changed into once detected one day of his emergency bypass surgical operation, nevertheless it indubitably might maybe maybe be two months sooner than he changed into once noteworthy ample for surgeons to take one-third of his appropriate lung.

Lafleur changed into once on the avenue support about a months later, slowly returning to his public life, when his cancer reappeared final October. The radiation, chemo and immunotherapy were a bit of his days since January.

With a compromised immune procedure one day of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lafleur changed into once very careful being out in public one day of the early days of his therapy. Progressively, he’s been doing a exiguous bit extra of what he no longer ideally suited loves nevertheless considers his responsibility.

“I omit doing what I produce most productive — promotions, meeting fans, going to banquets, diversified charity events to raise money for others,” he said of following within the giant footsteps of his leisurely friend and idol Jean Beliveau, the Canadiens’ ideally suited captain. “That’s what I have been doing all my life. That’s what I’m lacking. You don’t must be dwelling making an attempt at the four walls.”

Man Lafleur early within the 1970s at the Montreal Discussion board, and talking at his Hockey Hall of Fame induction in 1988.

Lafleur changed into once about a days previous his eighth therapy when the Stanley Cup arrived at his dwelling Sunday, the most predominant time he’d had the trophy for himself, no decrease than legally. 

In 1978, while the Canadiens famed their third of four consecutive championships (Lafleur’s fourth of his five), Lafleur hatched an elaborate view to kidnap the trophy from the trunk of the car of public family director Claude Mouton, parked exterior the downtown Montreal tavern of team tale Henri Richard. From there, he smuggled it to Thurso, Quebec, to the delight of his native land, and to his hang suburban Montreal yard. 

That changed into once 15 years sooner than the tradition started to present a victorious participant a day with the trophy.

About a decade ago, the Cup and individual trophies Lafleur obtained one day of his Hockey Hall of Fame career made a calm appearance at a restaurant he then owned north of Montreal.

Man Lafleur and his wife, Lise (third from left), at their dwelling on June 6 with the Stanley Cup. With them are son Keep (some distance appropriate) and his female friend, Natacha (some distance left); and son Martin with his wife, Angelica, and their 3-three hundred and sixty five days-used daughter Sienna Rose. 

Nonetheless the few hours he spent with the Stanley Cup on Sunday marked Lafleur’s first likelihood to if truth be told piece hockey’s grandest prize with his family individuals, whom he views as his cornerstones: his wife, Lise; son Martin and his wife, Angelica; son Keep and his female friend, Natacha; and Martin and Angelica’s 3-three hundred and sixty five days-used daughter, Sienna Rose, Lafleur’s ideally suited grandchild.

“A participant’s family would now not salvage the credit rating they deserve,” Lafleur said, reflecting on the Cup’s focus on over with and the cancer fight he’s waging, suggesting that his time with the trophy changed into once extra about his family and others than it changed into once about himself. “And now Sienna Rose will persistently occupy a teach of herself with the Stanley Cup.”

Lafleur changed into once equipped a day with the Cup within the summertime of 2005, when the 2004-05 NHL season changed into once canceled in consequence of a lockout. Many aged avid gamers who never had the opportunity loved the likelihood, nevertheless Lafleur grew to change into it down, telling Philip Pritchard, the Hall of Fame curator and so-called Keeper of the Cup, that extra senior avid gamers should always occupy it first, that his turn would reach.

Sixteen years later, it did. Longtime friend Donnie Cape obtained the puck rolling with NHL Alumni Association govt director Glenn Healy and Pritchard, the NHL additionally lending its toughen.

Video: Man Lafleur obtained Cup five times in Montreal

Linked to the debate over with, after the Stanley Cup’s time at Lafleur’s dwelling, might maybe maybe be two hours at a nearby car dealership. That changed into once finished to promote a fundraiser for the Man Lafleur Fund, a cancer analysis initiative established in March at the Centre hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM), where his therapy is being finished.

Dozens came to the inner most feature to securely meet and be photographed with Lafleur, who’s completely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, and the Stanley Cup. By Nov. 1, the Dilawri Team of Firms is aiming to donate between $50,000 and $100,000 to the fund, tied to the sale of fresh autos at its 10 dealerships in Quebec. 

What wasn’t identified when the Cup’s focus on over with changed into once deliberate changed into once that the Canadiens might maybe maybe be cyber web hosting the Winnipeg Jets that evening in Sport 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Spherical. 

Nicely conscious that superstitious groups can’t need to occupy the Cup in their metropolis one day of the playoffs, Pritchard and Hall of Fame colleague Mario Della-Savia had the trophy in its case and one day of the border support in Ontario, bolt for Toronto by automobile, 90 minutes sooner than face-off. Lafleur joined fellow Canadiens ambassadors Yvan Cournoyer and Rejean Houle in a Bell Centre suite for Montreal’s 5-1 victory.

Man Lafleur and Yvan Cournoyer in 2016, arriving in Detroit for the funeral of Gordie Howe, and masked at Bell Centre on June 6 for Sport 3 of the Canadiens-Jets series.

Lafleur’s appearance on the enviornment scoreboard raised the roof, 2,500 fans amongst the limitless number who devour him 36 years after he played his closing sport for the Canadiens. He changed into once one in all the most electrifying avid gamers of his generation, and no one since Lafleur has lifted Canadiens fans out of their seats moderately the same plot on a rink-length urge.

An offensive wonder in most predominant junior for the Quebec Remparts, Lafleur changed into once chosen No. 1 by the Canadiens within the 1971 NHL Draft, which changed into once held in Montreal 50 years ago Thursday.

“I take a look at up on at photos and movie from that day, at the apparel I changed into once wearing, and I’m appropriate pleased that every person dressed the same,” he said, laughing.

Lafleur scored 518 targets, within the support of ideally suited the 544 of Maurice “Rocket” Richard in Canadiens history, between 1971-72 and 1984-85, his 1,246 parts ranked No. 1. He then scored 107 parts (42 targets, 65 assists) for the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques from 1988-91, having returned to the NHL following a practically about four-three hundred and sixty five days retirement and his 1988 Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Man Lafleur came out of retirement following his 1988 Hall of Fame induction to play a season for the New York Rangers, then two for the Quebec Nordiques.

The ahead obtained both the Art Ross Trophy because the main scorer within the NHL and the Ted Lindsay Award, voted because the most eminent participant by the NHL Gamers’ Association, in 1976, 1977 and 1978; the Hart Trophy, voted as NHL MVP, in 1977 and 1978; and the Conn Smythe Trophy, voted as playoff MVP, in 1977.

Lafleur stays justifiably proud of his waggish 1978 “theft” of the Cup. He said his first championship, in 1973, is inclined to be his most special, having heard from teammates that ideally suited by successful the trophy might maybe maybe a participant if truth be told establish its magic. 

He additionally laughed concerning the flight dwelling from Chicago following that first Cup utilize, when he bumped teammate Claude Larose and his broken leg off a stretcher so that he might maybe maybe put it to use, refreshed to the purpose of being unable to bound.

By no methodology, Lafleur said, no topic how customarily he’s viewed it, does he tire of being in its sterling company. Continuously he thinks of his teammates — these nonetheless with him, too many who’re long gone.

Man Lafleur in his native land of Thurso, Quebec in leisurely May maybe maybe maybe also 1978, having “stolen” the Stanley Cup. At appropriate is his son, Martin, with a neighborhood exiguous one on the left.

“Whenever you occupy a raffle to be with the Cup, it brings support so many memories, the difficulty you had to plow by to put it to use,” he said. “And whenever you happen to put it to use once, you snatch to occupy to put it to use all another time in your team, your fans and your self. You watched about all of the avid gamers who were piece of the team. That’s what you omit the most whenever you happen to pause your career, the family of your teammates.”

The Stanley Cup will be Lafleur’s second shadow every step of his life. He grows deeply introspective when he thinks aloud about how his hang scenario has introduced him into scrutinize of others, about what number of, of all ages, he sees courageously staring down the disease. It is no longer irregular for him to pressure to the dwelling of a fellow cancer patient he’s never met and stroll in unannounced to present about a moments of cheer.

“CHUM asked me about constructing a fund and I changed into once tickled to produce it,” Lafleur said. “They need so primary money to produce analysis. After I accelerate there every three weeks, there are so many folk receiving therapy. It is amazing. … I’m persistently wondering, we accelerate to the moon and to Mars, one day will they discover a medication for cancer? The analysis is so notable. Success methodology helping to toughen the lives of cancer sufferers.

“It is very runt, very skinny who we are and what we produce on this Earth. As folk, we don’t point out primary. There might be a saying in French that I mediate. It interprets to: ‘I’m working out of my borrowed time.'”

Man Lafleur poses for a Montreal Discussion board portrait one day of his 1970s top with the Canadiens.

With that, Lafleur stopped, emotion choking off his words. At final: 

“That’s what I establish,” he said. “I strive to lend a hand others now, nevertheless it indubitably’s no longer the same. I must produce primary, quite a bit extra, nevertheless I am unable to. The disease is fair too overall and or no longer it is no longer ideally suited the aged. It is young childhood. I snatch into tale doing work on behalf of leukemia analysis when I started with the Canadiens. Early life … I point out, why does a kid accept cancer? 

“I hear from many, many folk that occupy cancer. I’ve finished video calls with of us, made phone calls — no longer by the Canadiens, nevertheless with of us that know me or discover me. Somebody will inquire of, ‘Would you cellphone this person for me?’ I could support them the ideally suited I will be able to. It is notable to produce this. 

“As avid gamers, we had the adulation of fans. I if truth be told occupy to present support on tale of these of us were my bread and butter when I played, my energy. Enact I snatch strength from them now? Yes, I produce. Enact I give them strength? I’m hoping that maybe we rupture even.”

Learn extra concerning the Man Lafleur Fund here.

Photos: HHoF Photographs; Connor McCollam; Getty Photographs; Man Lafleur; Evelyn Cournoyer; Dave Stubbs

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