With how absolutely legendary Mario Lemieux
has become, both on and off the ice, it can be easy to forget that he had heroes, too.
But we got an incredibly awesome reminder of that when an old black and white photo surfaced of Lemieux as a teenager cheering on one of his idols.
In the picture, Canadiens star Guy LaFleur – who had just earned his 1,000th NHL point in a game against Winnipeg on March 4, 1981 – is standing at the Habs bench acknowledging the ovation from the fans at the Montreal Forum. And standing directly behind him is a 15-year-old Lemieux, who was playing Midget AAA hockey at the time, smiling, clapping and cheering his idol.
To top it off, the player beside Lafleur on the bench is Pierre Larouche – who would, of course, later become Lemieux’s teammate on the Penguins and his best friend.
Montreal Gazette sports columnist and feature writer Dave Stubbs discovered the image, taken by Canadian Press photographer Doug Bell. Stubbs originally tweeted it out to mark the 34-year anniversary of Lafleur’s accomplishment and at first, didn’t even notice the kid in the black sports coat standing in the background. Once Stubbs realized who it was, he put together a fantastic feature on the photo. Check it out here.