After the advent of Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers in the NHL in the 1980’s, hockey fans everywhere we’re looking for the next player to take control as the top player in the league.
It had long been a Canadian player hoisted atop the league, from Rocket Richard to Gordie Howe to Bobby Orr to Wayne Gretzky. The NHL looks to the junior leagues to find their next stars, and out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League came the league’s next superstar, Mario Lemieux.
Lemieux was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1984. He was a highly touted prospect, having scored 562 points in three seasons of junior hockey. Lemieux was such a high profile prospect that there were rumors about teams tanking their season in order to secure the number one pick and draft him.
Lemieux made an impact right away. In his first career game, Lemieux scored a goal on his first career shot, a feat that showed early the great levels he would reach. Through his early years, Lemieux was a sole bright spot for the Penguins.
From early on, Lemieux became the first, but certainly not the last, to don the moniker, “The Next Gretzky.”
Here is an 8″ x 10″ photo of Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux Penguins in 2009 holding the Stanley Cup.
A tribute to Mario Lemieux’s career.
The Mario Lemieux Story … continued from the page 2 Following his retirement, the Penguins financial status fell into disrepair. After the Penguins filed for bankruptcy in 1999, Lemieux stepped in and bought a controlling interest in the team, keeping the organization alive. Shortly thereafter, in 2000, Lemieux returned from retirement to play in the NHL. He retained much of his skill through his time off, being selected as a finalist in 2001 for the […]
The Mario Lemieux Story … continued from the main page By the 1988 season, Lemieux had further developed into an NHL star player. After playing in the Canada Cup with NHL stars like Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey, Lemieux was able to realize the full breadth of his talents. In his 1988-1989 campaign, Lemieux came the closest NHL player to match Gretzky’s NHL record of 216 points in a single season, registering 199 points. At one point in the […]
Lemieux along with many other Canadian NHL stars like Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic helped lead the Canadian men’s hockey team to win the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Gold medal win ended a long drought and was the first Olympic gold hockey title for Canada in over fifty years.
Mario Lemieux founded the Mario Lemieux Foundation in 1993 shortly after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and has donated millions of dollars to various area institutions since that time. At the time he was probably having his greatest NHL season and was on pace to break and establish a new NHL scoring record. However he became ill and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.
Mario devotes much of his time to the Foundation raising funds to help reach the ultimate goal: a cure for cancer. The Foundation has been successful with a long list of achievements including …