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.”
The 1985-86 OPC #9 Mario Lemieux rookie card is a must for any Lemieux fan’s hockey card collection.
Mario Lemieux, considered by many to be the most talented hockey player ever, often finds his name mentioned in the top 5 hockey players of all-time and his numbers and resume do not dispute that sentiment. He never played a full season in the NHL without missing a game so one can only speculate how much more impressive his offensive numbers would be if he had not missed over 400 games due to injury and illness.
Quick reference guide showing some of the many pages on the Mario Lemieux site
Lemieux and Gretzky – The Best Of The Best
Photos, highlights, goals, great passes and even some fights …
Mario Lemieux was a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) and played from 1985 to 2004. He was widely known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game, acquiring nicknames such as Le Magnifique, The Magnificent One, and Super Mario and ironicaly his surname literally translates to ‘the best’. Due to his skill, size and stature (6 ft 4 in (1.931 m) and 230 lb (104 kg)), many hockey analysts believe that Lemieux would have been greatest player in almost any NHL era.
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