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.
Here is a Mario Lemieux Car Commercial for a Chevrolet dealership in his early career.
The 1985-86 OPC #9 Mario Lemieux rookie card is a must for any Lemieux fan’s hockey card collection.
Mario Lemieux played professional ice hockey for 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL (betweeen 1984 and 2006) and is now the Penguins principal owner and chairman, after having fighting to keep the team from bankruptcy in 1999. Lemieux is regarded by most in the hockey community as one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL.
He won the Conn Smythe Trophy twice while leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to winning two Stanley Cup championships, led the NHL in scoring six times, won the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP three times.
Mario Lemieux Quick Facts
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