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Mario Lemieux

Born:October 5, 1965Draft:1984 Penguins First Overall
Hometown:Montreal, QuebecPosition:C
Known For:Nickname
“Super Mario”
Shoots/Catches:Right
National Team:Canada

Mario Lemieux (born October 5, 1965) played parts of 17 seasons (his whole NHL career) with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1984 to 2006, assuming ownership in 1999. Nicknamed “The Magnificent One“, “Le Magnifique” and “Super Mario” after the fictional character of the same name, he is widely acknowledged to have been one of the greatest players of all time.

Drafted first overall by the Penguins in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux led Pittsburgh to consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. Under his ownership, the Penguins won additional titles in 2009, 2016, and 2017. He is the only man to have his name on the Cup both as a player and owner. He also led Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002, a championship at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and a Canada Cup in 1987. He won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player voted by the players four times, the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player (MVP) during the regular season three times, the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s points leader six times, and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP in 1991 and 1992. He is the only player to score one goal in each of the five possible situations in a single NHL game, a feat he accomplished in 1988. At the time of his retirement, he was the NHL’s seventh-highest career points scorer with 690 goals and 1,033 assists. He ranks second in NHL history with a 0.754 career goals-per-game average, behind only Mike Bossy (0.762).

Lemieux was never able to play a full season, and during his career he played in 70 or more games in a season on only six occasions. Lemieux’s career was plagued by health problems that limited him to 915 of a possible 1,430 regular season games between the opening of the 1984–85 campaign and the final game of 2005–2006. His numerous ailments included spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic tendinitis of a hip-flexor muscle, and chronic back pain so severe that other people had to tie his skates. He retired on two occasions due to these health issues, first in 1997 after battling lymphoma before returning in 2000, and then a second and final time in 2006 after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Lemieux also missed the entire 1994–95 season due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite his lengthy absences from the game, his play remained at a high level upon his return to the ice; he won the Hart Trophy and scoring title in 1995–96 after sitting out the entire previous season, and he was a finalist for the Hart Trophy when he made his comeback in 2000. In 1999, he bought the then-bankrupt Penguins and their top minor-league affiliate, the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and is currently the team’s principal owner and chairman.

The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Lemieux immediately after his first retirement in 1997, waiving the normal three-year waiting period; upon his return in 2000, he became the third Hall of Famer (after Gordie Howe and Guy Lafleur) to play after being inducted. In 2017, he was named one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players”. In 2004, he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins
Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Mario Lemieux Statistics

Deeper Dive

Achievements

  • All-Time NHL Records
    • Short-handed Goals in a Season (13 in 1988-89)
    • Most Power Play Points in a Season (80 in 1987-88)
    • Only Player with 70 Power-Play Points in a Season (80 in 1988; 79 in 1989; 79 in 1986)
    • Only Player with 30-plus Power-Play Goals in Two Different Seasons (1989, 1996)
    • Most Goals Scored or Assisted on in a Season (57.3 percent of team’s goals in 1988-89)
    • Highest Empty-Net Goal Game Average (1 in every 27.7 games)
    • Only NHL Player With Three 8-Point Games (regular season & playoffs)
    • Only NHL Player to Score Five Goals Five Different Ways in One Game (even-strength, short-handed, power-play, penalty shot, empty net)
    • Most Points in a Single NHL All-Star Game (6)
    • Highest Career Goals Per Game Average in NHL Playoffs (.710)
    • Most Goals in a Period (4, tied with 12 others)
    • Most Career Goals in the All-Star Game (13, tied with Wayne Gretzky)
    • Most All-Star Game MVP Awards (3, tied with Wayne Gretzky)
    • Most Goals in a Single All-Star Game (4, tied with Wayne Gretzky and Dany Heatley)
    • Most Goals in a Period in a Playoff Game (4, tied with Tim Kerr)
    • Most Goals in a Playoff Game (5, tied with four others)
    • Most Points in a Period in a Playoff Game (4, tied with Tim Kerr)
    • Most Points in a Playoff Game (8, tied with Patrick Sundstrom)
    • Penguins Career Leader in Goals (690)
    • Penguins Career Leader in Assists (1,033)
    • Penguins Career Leader in Points (1,723)
    • Penguins Record for Goals in a Season (85 in 1988-89)
    • Penguins Record for Assists in a Season (114 in 1988-89)
    • Penguins Record for Points in a Season (199 in 1988-89)
    • Penguins Record for Goals in a Game (5, did it four times, including playoffs)
    • Penguins Record for Assists in a Game (6, did it three times, shares record)
    • Penguins Record for Points in a Game (8, did it three times, including playoffs)
    • Penguins Longest Scoring Streak (46 games)
    • Penguins Longest Goal-Scoring Streak (12 games)
  • Additional Awards and Achievements
    • U20 WJC Bronze Medal — 1983
    • IIHF World Championships Silver Medal — 1985
    • Canada Cup Gold Medal — 1987
    • Olympic Gold Medal — 2002
    • World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal — 2004
    • CHL Player of the Year — 1984
    • Won Calder Memorial Trophy — 1985
    • NHL All-Rookie Team — 1985
    • Named to 12 All-Star Games — 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003
    • NHL All-Star Game MVP Three Times — 1985, 1988, 1990
    • NHL First All-Star Team Five Times — 1988, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997
    • NHL Second All-Star Team Four Times — 1986, 1987, 1992, 2001
    • Won Ted Lindsay Award Four Times — 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996
    • Won Hart Memorial Trophy Three Times — 1988, 1993, 1996
    • Won Art Ross Trophy Six Times — 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997
    • Won Conn Smythe Trophy Twice — 1991, 1992
    • Won NHL Plus-Minus Award — 1993
    • Won Bill Masterson Trophy — 1993
    • Won Lou Marsh Trophy — 1993
    • Won ESPY NHL Player of the Year Three Times — 1993, 1994, 1998
    • Won Lester Patrick Trophy — 2000
    • Won Stanley Cup Twice as a Player — 1991, 1992
    • Won Stanley Cup Three Times as an Owner — 2009, 2016, 2017
    • Only Person to Have Name on Stanley Cup as Player and Owner
    • Led NHL in Goals Three Times — 1988, 1989, 1996
    • Led NHL in Assists Three Times — 1989, 1996, 1997
    • Led NHL in Power-Play Goals Twice — 1989, 1996
    • Led NHL in Short-Handed Goals Three Times — 1988, 1989, 1996
    • Led NHL in Plus-Minus — 1993
    • Led NHL in Hat Tricks Three Times — 1987, 1988, 1989, 1996
    • Second Most Hat Tricks in NHL History (40)
    • Fourth Most Short-Handed Goals in NHL History (49)
    • Inducted Into Hockey Hall of Fame — 1997
    • ESPN Hockey Player of the Decade — 2000
    • Named to Canada’s Walk of Fame — 2004
    • Given Order of Canada — 2009
    • Given National Order of Quebec — 2009
    • Order of Hockey in Canada Recipient — 2016
    • Named to IIHF All-Time Canada Team — 2020
    • No. 66 Retired by Pittsburgh Penguins, Team Canada and Laval Titan (QMJHL)

Sources