Mario Lemieux and the Voisins Score Like It's Never Been Done Since
The 1983-84 QMJHL season was the
end of an era of sorts. The league was led by the Laval Voisins, a team that
finished the season with 54 wins and 108 points in 70 games, 25 points better
than the next best team. 1983-84 was the apex of Mario Lemieux’s junior hockey
career and the Voisins were simply an offensive nuclear bomb.
The team scored 527 goals over their 70 regular season games
for an average of 7.5 goals per game. Lemieux’s 133 goals accounted for over
25% of the team’s output. Laval rammed through the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs to take the
league championship and earn a berth in the Memorial Cup tournament. However,
the quality of the QMJHL was certainly in question when this team that put up
scores more appropriate for a football game all season, could only muster 10
goals in three games against the best of the rest of Canada at the Mem. Laval
went 0 for 3 in the tournament and couldn’t compete against the other three
Including Lemieux, five Voisins surpassed the 100 point
plateau in 1983-84. More evidence to the lower quality of the QMJHL, only one
of those, Yves Courteau, spent any time in the NHL with just 22 games spread
over three seasons with the Calgary Flames and the Hartford Whalers. Two of the
players, including 170 point man Jacques Goyette, never played past junior.
Lemieux, of course, went on to become one of the best
players in National Hockey League history. He was taken first overall by the
Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. He contributed exactly 100
points in his first NHL season and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s
Mario won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top point getter
on six occasions. His best season was 1988-89 when he challenged Wayne Gretzky’s
still unbeaten scoring records with 85 goals and 114 assists for 199 points.
Lemieux was also the recipient of the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable
player three times and entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.
Lemieux’s 133 goals in 1983-84 with Laval topped Guy Lafleur’s
previous mark of 130 set in 1970-71. Lemieux and Lafleur are two of four
players in the QMJHL to surpass the 100 goal plateau in a single regular season,
along with Pat Lafontaine and Gary MacGregor. The 282 regular season points he
accumulated that season will most likely always stand as a record in the QMJHL.
Was it the greatest offensive season in Canadian junior
hockey or just pond hockey in front of big crowds? Whatever the opinion, the
1983-84 QMJHL season will never be forgotten in the hockey world.