Canada’s great Guy Lafleur, facing lung cancer again, tries to raise awareness

Guy Lafleur is never sure about what’s around the next corner.


When his cancer treatments weren’t completely exhausted, the great Montreal Canadianiens had energy.

And then there are other times when all he wants to do is rest.

“I got immunotherapy for the first three weeks, and then the fourth week I had major chemotherapy,” Lafleur said of her regimen in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. “It was the chemotherapy that really hurt you. No two weeks are alike. For the past two weeks, I’ve been feeling very, very bad and sleeping a lot.

“But the last three days, I feel so much better – a lot of ups and downs.”

A cancerous white spot was accidentally discovered on Lafleur’s right lung in September 2019 while he was undergoing quadruple heart surgery. Two months later, the Hockey Hall of Fame winger again underwent surgery to remove both the upper lobe of his lung and the lymph nodes.

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“I don’t know,” Lafleur said of her cancer, which is thankfully caught early. “I’m probably done with Phase 4 and it’s probably too late.”

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But he received bad news in October 2020 that the cancer had returned, which is when Lafleur began his current treatment.

“Not too many people get the chance to grab it in the first place,” said 70-year-old Lafleur, who has partnered with Merck Canada for the new “Be The MVP” campaign to raise awareness about early detection of lung cancer. .

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates 21,000 people will die from lung cancer in the country by 2021 – about 25% of all cancer deaths.

“Most people when they find out, it’s Stage 4,” said Lafleur, a chain smoker who gave up cold turkey because of health concerns in 2019. “It’s not too late. , because there are miracles out there and there are survivors.

“But you’d better find out for yourself.”

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Lafleur, who won five Stanley Cups in his Canadian career in the 1970s, continues to watch his old team with a keen eye.

The man nicknamed “The Flower” didn’t attend many games – although Lafleur received thunderous acclaim at Bell Center in the final game of last season – but was let down by a bad start. The top saw Montreal win just five times out of 20 coming in at 29th in the NHL standings.

“They’ve been in the Stanley Cup and now it’s almost final,” said Lafleur, who has scored 560 goals and 1,353 points in 1,126 games with the Canadianiens, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques.

“If you’re not ready and if you don’t have the right players, you’re not going to win.”

Of course, Montreal has been subtracted by two large parts for the period 2021-22. Canada captain Shea Weber is facing injuries that could force retirement, while goalkeeper Carey Price has entered an inpatient facility for pre-season “drug use” and moves on return.

“Those are two large men missing,” Lafleur said. “But it’s not normal to have streaks like that. Even if you are missing two people, you will be able to make up for it. ”

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While criticizing the team’s performance on ice, Lafleur greatly admired Price and winger Jonathan Drouin, who left the team last spring to deal with insomnia and anxiety, for addressing the need request their mental health – and then share the details publicly.

“They hid it for a while, their problem, but it came out and it helps,” Lafleur said. “First of all, themselves. And everyone will understand what they’re going through, too. It’s a good thing.

“They’re not the only two in the league, I’ll tell you that.”

Lafleur believes the Canadians need to name a captain, with Weber set to stay on the shelf indefinitely. The gritty striker Brendan Gallagher is his choice.

“Right now,” he said emphatically. “Sorry for Shea, but he’s not playing. You need someone that the players look for. “

“And Brendan… he’s the guy who shows up in every game, he pays the price in every game.”

Meanwhile, dwindling interest in the game among Quebec’s youth prompted the provincial government to announce a strategy to increase the number of Quebecers in the NHL.

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Quebec’s new commission to promote hockey faces criticism for lack of diversity

Quebec’s new commission to promote hockey faces criticism for lack of diversity

Lafleur was not on the committee announced last week, but he has a few ideas.

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“Times change,” he said. “Mini hockey, it’s too expensive. For the parents to bring their children to the junior level (level), it is unbelievable. In our day, we don’t have that.

“It’s not a lot of money because we don’t travel a lot. Light hockey, it’s organized like the NHL now. ”

Lafleur also pointed a finger at some parents.

“They put too much pressure on the kids,” he said. “They think about winning the lottery if they do (NHL).

“That’s why so many kids drop out… there’s so much pressure. They have to perform all the time.”

However, pressure to re-implement comes with franchise territory with 24 Trophy banners.

“You have to fight together,” Lafleur said of current Canadians. “Not one guy one night, two guys the next night. It’s 20 guys on the team, and you go out there and you do everything in your power to win.

“Montreal is the best city in the world to play, if you win. If you don’t win, it’s hell.”

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Lafleur has been living in her own shape for the past 26 months with surgeries, the COVID-19 pandemic, a recurrence of her cancer, and potentially devastating treatments.

But the support of family, friends and fans – the Quebec Junior Hockey League withdrew his numbers last month – is immeasurable.

“I’ve been mostly stuck indoors since 2019,” he said. “Mentally, it was very difficult. Hopefully I’ll get through this and come out of it with a win.

“It’s hope for all people with cancer.”

© 2021 Canadian Press Canada’s great Guy Lafleur, facing lung cancer again, tries to raise awareness


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