Ice hockey legend Mario Lemieux got his start as a center with Montreal-Concordia in the Quebec Amateur Leagues in 1980. From 1981 through 1984 he was a member of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Laval Voisins and broke several league records in addition to winning a bronze medal with Canada at the 1983 World Junior Championships. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League in 1984 and skated 17 seasons with the team until 2006, with breaks from 1994 through 1995, 1997 through 2000 and during the 2004-2005 NHL lockout. In 1985 he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year, as well as a silver medal at the World Championships. In 1986 he won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league’s top regular season player and in 1988 he broke Wayne Gretzky’s eight-time Hart Memorial Trophy-winning streak as league MVP (Lemieux would win the award twice more in 1993 and 1996). After winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1991 and 1992 (also the years of his first Stanley Cup victories), he had a difficult 1992-1993 season when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He returned later that year, however, and won a second Lester B. Pearson Award, as well as the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given to the player who best displays "to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey". He took his first season off in 1994 to recover from back surgery.

Lemieux returned for the 1995-1996 season and captured his third Hart Memorial Trophy, as well as his fifth Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer (he would win a sixth the following year). He retired in 1997 as the only player to leave with an average points-per-game greater than two and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame later that year. By 1999 he was majority owner of the financially struggling Penguins and a year later he was back on the ice with his team. In 2002 he made an appearance for Canada at the Winter Olympics as squad captain, where he played in five matches, scored two goals, and took home one of Canada’s first Olympic gold medals in ice hockey in fifty years. By 2006 chronic injuries and a heart ailment retired him from active play for good. In 2009 and 2016 he won a third and fourth Stanley Cup, this time as an owner, making him the only person to win the trophy as both player and owner as of 2016. In 1993 he started the Mario Lemieux Foundation to fund medical research projects relating to cancer and was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canadian athlete of the year. In 2000 he was given the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to the sport in the United States.


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