André Lacroix (ice hockey)

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André Lacroix
Born (1945-06-05) June 5, 1945 (age 69)
Lauzon, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 175 lb (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for NHL
Philadelphia Flyers
Chicago Black Hawks
Hartford Whalers
WHA
Philadelphia Blazers
New York Golden Blades
New Jersey Knights
San Diego Mariners
Houston Aeros
New England Whalers
AHL
Quebec Aces
National team  Canada
Playing career 1964–1980

André Joseph Lacroix (born June 5, 1945 in Lauzon, Quebec) is a retired professional ice hockey player in the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association, and is the WHA's all-time leading career scorer.

Playing career[edit]

A centre notable for his playmaking, penalty-killing and faceoff skill, Lacroix played his junior hockey for the Peterborough Petes, leading the league in assists in both the 1964–65 and 1965–66 seasons and in points the latter season. He then played two seasons for the minor-league Quebec Aces of the AHL, playing brilliantly in the 1968 season before being recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL in the spring of 1968. Paired on a forward line with fellow ex-Quebec wingers Jean-Guy Gendron and Simon Nolet, he was an immediate star, leading the Flyers in scoring in both 1969 and 1970.

After the 1971 season Lacroix was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks, and dismayed at the change of scenery, played poorly the next year. However, in the fall of 1972, the upstart World Hockey Association began play, and he wasted no time returning to Philadelphia and signing with the league's Philadelphia Blazers franchise. Despite the team going through much tumult and controversy, Lacroix was an immediate star for the squad, leading the WHA in points that season with a 50–74–124 mark.

However, in the offseason, the franchise was transferred to Vancouver, and Lacroix was traded to an even shakier team, the New York Golden Blades for the 1974 season. Again, despite tumult that caused the team to be moved to New Jersey mid-season and payrolls to be missed, he was a standout, leading the WHA in assists with 80. That fall, Lacroix was named to Team Canada for the 1974 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, scoring one goal and six assists in eight games to be the team's second leading scorer.

The New York-New Jersey team moved yet again for the 1975 to California to become the San Diego Mariners, and Lacroix continued his success. In that first season in San Diego, he achieved his second league scoring title and racked up 106 assists, the professional record at the time and the only player other than Bobby Orr who had ever reached 100 assists in a single season of professional hockey. As of 2013, only Orr, Lacroix, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux have accumulated 100 assists in a season. Lacroix scored over 100 points the next two seasons with the Mariners as well, before the franchise folded.

It was during this time that Lacroix began to be referred to in broadcasts of the games, as "The Magician". This was in reference to his ability to make the puck disappear --- and then reappear, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat. The opposing goalie would lose track of the puck, only to have it reappear in his net.

He continued to star in two more seasons before the end of the WHA, for the Houston Aeros in 1978 and the New England Whalers in 1979. His skills diminishing at last, Lacroix played briefly and respectably for the Whalers after their move to the NHL in the 1980 season (with Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull) before retiring.

Lacroix has been involved with hockey since retiring, creating the André Lacroix Power Hockey Academy and was the Director of hockey programs at the Oakland Ice Centre until 2005.

Lacroix currently owns and operates The Pond ice rink in Bainbridge/Auburn Township, Ohio. The Pond is notable for deriving part of its electrical power from wind turbines located at the rink.

On May 28, 2014, Andre was named the head coach of the University School varsity hockey team.

Career records and achievements[edit]

  • 79 goals and 119 assists for 198 points in 325 games in the NHL.
  • 251 goals and 547 assists for 798 points in 551 games in the WHA.
  • Named to the WHA's First All-Star Team in 1973, 1974 and 1975.
  • Won the Bill Hunter Trophy as the WHA's leading scorer in 1973 and 1975.
  • Scored one hundred points or more in six consecutive seasons, a mark achieved by only six other major professional players.
  • The WHA's all-time leader in games played, assists (by nearly two hundred) and points (by over a hundred).
  • Fourth all-time in WHA history in goals scored.

Awards[edit]

Red Tilson Trophy

  • In 1965 and 1966 with the Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (MVP):

  • In 1966 with the Peterborough Petes (OHL)

W.D. (Bill) Hunter Trophy:

  • In 1973 with the Philadelphia Blazers (WHA)
  • In 1975 with the San Diego Mariners (WHA)

In 2010, he was elected as an inaugural inductee into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame.[1]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1962–63 Quebec Citadelles QPJHL ? 53 54 107 41
1963–64 Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA 34 12 18 30 0
1964–65 Peterborough Petes OHA 49 45 74 119 0
1964–65 Quebec Aces AHL 1 0 0 0 0
1965–66 Peterborough Petes OHA 48 40 80 120 20
1965–66 Quebec Aces AHL 2 1 3 4 0
1966–67 Quebec Aces AHL 67 25 24 49 14 5 3 2 5 2
1967–68 Quebec Aces AHL 54 41 46 87 18
1967–68 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 18 6 8 14 6 7 2 3 5 0
1968–69 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 75 24 32 56 4 4 0 0 0 0
1969–70 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 74 22 36 58 14
1970–71 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 78 20 22 42 12 4 0 2 2 0
1971–72 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 51 4 7 11 6 1 0 0 0 0
1972–73 Philadelphia Blazers WHA 78 50 74 124 83 4 0 2 2 18
1973–74 New York Golden Blades/Jersey Knights WHA 71 31 80 111 54
1974–75 San Diego Mariners WHA 78 41 106 147 63 10 3 9 12 2
1975–76 San Diego Mariners WHA 80 29 72 101 42 11 4 6 10 4
1976–77 San Diego Mariners WHA 81 32 82 114 79 7 1 6 7 6
1977–78 Houston Aeros WHA 78 36 77 113 57 6 2 2 4 0
1978–79 New England Whalers WHA 78 32 56 88 34 10 4 4 8 0
1979–80 Hartford Whalers NHL 29 3 14 17 2
NHL totals 325 79 119 198 44 16 2 5 7 0
WHA totals 551 251 547 798 412 48 14 29 43 30

References[edit]

  1. ^ WHA Hall of Fame Members

External links[edit]