A deep friendship between two legends

“It is sad to lose another flagship of Quebec,” said Joan Villeneuve. His death comes a few weeks before the fortieth anniversary of Jill’s death. »

Gilles Villeneuve’s widow did not hide in an interview in registerthat the departure of Guy LaFleur had upset her.

“She touches me,” she continues. Jill not only had a great admiration for Jay, but a deep friendship between them both. I feel privileged to have rubbed the shoulders of these heroes during their lifetime. »


Jacques Villeneuve was too young to remember the times his father spent with Lafleur. But he remembers the impact the former Canadian No. 10 had.

“He was one of the rare Quebec athletes who excelled abroad,” said Villeneuve, who was contacted in Italy. In fact, I grew up with Lafleur without having followed a game of hockey. It shows how much he likes it. »

For the record, the two celebs met through Villeneuve’s manager, Gaston Parent, who called on Lafleur to help the Quebec driver find sponsors at a critical period.

Jay LaFleurJay LaFleur | 1951-2022

March 30, 1991 – A standing ovation to Guy LaFleur during his last match at the Forum in a Nordic outfit. Archives / Le Journal de Montreal

Jay LaFleur during his years with Le Canadian Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images

Jay LaFleur André Toto Gingras The MONTREAL JOURNAL / QMI AGENCY

Canadian Hockey Club presents the 2017-2018 Jay LaFleur Excellence and Merit Awards winners Chantal Poirier / Le Journal de Montreal

Jay LaFleur during the last game of his farewell tour at the Bell Center on Sunday, December 5, 2010. Sébastien St-Jean / 24Heures / QMI Agency

September 11, 1971 – On the eve of his first training camp with the Montreal Canadiens, Guy Lafleur first took the opportunity to skate on the Forum Ice Rink. Pictured is with Jean Bellevue. Archives / Le Journal de Montreal

Autographed photo of Guy Lafleur in a Quebec Remparts outfit politeness

Guy LaFleur as part of Guy LaFlere’s retirement evening No. 4 at the Slush Puppie Center in Gatineau on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Martin Chevalier / Le Journal de Montreal

Jay LaFleur and his banner as part of Guy LaFlere’s retirement evening No. 4 at the Slush Puppie Center in Gatineau on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Martin Chevalier / Le Journal de Montreal

Guy Lafleur’s last match with the Quebec Nordic, in Montreal on March 30, 1991 Archives / Le Journal de Montreal

Bronze sculpture by Guy LaFleur Archives / Le Journal de Montreal

Jay LaFleur, B-Wee Quebec Beewe Championships Collection, Modern Photo Box

Jay LaFleur, B-Wee Quebec Beewe Championships Collection, Modern Photo Box

Jay LaFleur and Art Ross, Conn Smith and Lester B. Awards. Pearson, Montreal Forum, 1976 Dennis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Guy LaFleur, then a member of Team Canada, signs autographs while training for the Canada Cup, Montreal 1976 Dennis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Jay LaFleur and goalkeeper Murray Bannerman #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Forum 1980 Dennis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Jay LaFleur and goalkeeper Mike Palmeter of the Toronto Maple Leafs Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

March 7, 1975 – Jay LaFleur becomes the first player in Canadian history to reach 100 points in a season in an 8-4 win over the Washington Capitals Archives / Le Journal de Montreal

Jay LaFleur on the bench during Game Three against the Boston Bruins, Boston Gardens, 1977 Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Announcing the First Retirement of Jay LaFleur Archives/Montreal Magazine

QMJHL retires with Guy Lafleur No. 4 at the Videotron Center in Quebec, Thursday, October 28, 2021 Stevens Lebanon / Journal de Quebec / QMI AGENCY

“Gaston and Giles came to meet me at home in 1976 to ask if I had any contacts that would allow him to find funding to finish his season in Formula Atlantic,” Lafleur explained in an interview with 98.5 FM in 2018. Well, as he won the championship that year. »

Since then, they have met several times.

“At the Grand Prix de France, Joann remembered, someone knocked on our trailer door, and it was Guy Lafleur. Gilles was surprised, but above all glad to see him arrive. He made sure he looked after himself. It was fun.”


Guy LaFleur was able to rely on the sound advice of Gilles Villeneuve when he was invited to drive his Formula Atlantic, in 1975, at the Mont-Tremblant circuit.

Image courtesy, Gilles Villeneuve Museum

Guy LaFleur was able to rely on the sound advice of Gilles Villeneuve when he was invited to drive his Formula Atlantic, in 1975, at the Mont-Tremblant circuit.

Common points

The athletes had several things in common. They were complete, passionate about their sport, and generous with the crowd.

They were also known for their frankness, no offense to their employers.

Lafleur had invited Villeneuve to a hockey game at the Montreal Forum and to meet the Canadian players in the locker room. Villeneuve had returned the favor by offering him a driving lesson at Mont-Tremblant and, soon after, to make a few laps at the wheel of his Formula Atlantic.

Lafleur made no secret at the time that he was shocked by the death of the Quebec pilot on May 8, 1982. We imagine that Villeneuve, if he was still alive, would have known of the blond devil’s departure.


Patrick Carpenter had the honor of introducing to the public with Guy LaFleur in 2007, at the Bell Center.

photo courtesy

Patrick Carpenter had the honor of introducing to the public with Guy LaFleur in 2007, at the Bell Center.

“Hi Guy 10”

When he learned of the death of his idol, promoter François Dumontier mentioned “Hi Guy 10” on Friday alongside Hi Gilles’ song, Friday, at the Gilles-Villeneuve Arena on the island of Notre-Dame. It will be kept on track until the Formula 1 Circus visits the Canadian Grand Prix in June.

Pilot Patrick Carpenter recalls an unforgettable meeting with Guy LaFleur during a presentation at the Bell Center in the fall of 2007.

“The team owner at the time, George Gillett, had built a NASCAR Cup team and recruited me to drive his car,” he says. I had escorted Jay to the center of the rink. We wore the same number 10.

“I mourned his death, but I also remember the unfair treatment given to him by the media when his son had problems with the law.”


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