MONTREAL - November is Hockey Fights Cancer month, and for fans of Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur, the initiative carries special meaning this year.
In November 2019, doctors discovered cancerous cells in Lafleur's lung just a few months after he had undergone quadruple bypass surgery. The discovery led to the removal of part of his right lung.
This fall, it was revealed that Lafleur's cancer had reappeared.
On November 30, the NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA) released a video message of support for Le Demon Blond, featuring a who's who of former teammates and opponents from across his 17-year Hall-of-Fame career.
Among his former Habs teammates to pitch in with a message were Yvon Lambert, Mario Tremblay, Cam Connor, Doug Jarvis, Phil Myre, Lucien DeBlois, Chris Nilan, Rejean Houle, Ryan Walter, and Larry Robinson.
Video: The hockey world sends its support to Guy Lafleur
"We are in November, Hockey Fights Cancer Month in the NHL," shared Houle, who now serves as president of the Canadiens Alumni Association. "Flower, I just wanted to let you know that I think of you every day, and I know you will get through this."
For his part, Connor - who played 23 regular season games and eight playoff contests with Lafleur in 1978-79 - spoke not only of Lafleur's hockey prowess, but of his generous spirit off the ice too.
"You were one of the finest hockey players who ever played the game," described Connor, who owns a Stanley Cup ring from that 1978-79 playoff run. "But when I think of Guy Lafleur, I think about you as one of the kindest, nicest, happiest human beings I know."
The video also featured some of Lafleur's teammates from his short stints with the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques, including Brian Leetch, John Ogrodnick, Kelly Kisio, and Mats Sundin, as well as ex-NHLers Glenn Healy (representing the NHLAA), Tie Domi, Stephan Lebeau, and Steve Begin.
Leetch, who was just starting out on his 18-year career when Lafleur joined the Rangers for the 1988-89 campaign, added to the chorus of support and encouragement for the Canadiens' all-time point-getter among right wingers.
"I know you're going through some battles right now. I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you," expressed Leetch. "Keep grinding and keep fighting. I look forward to catching up with you in the future."
A native of Thurso, QC, Lafleur finished his career with 560 goals for 1,353 points in 1,126 games with the Canadiens, Rangers, and Nordiques. He won the Stanley Cup five times with the Canadiens, won the Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award three times apiece, the Hart Trophy twice, as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1977.
In a statement in October, Lafleur said he would be undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the Centre hospitalier de l'Universite de Montreal (CHUM).