Cournoyer at the 2008 Legends Classic game.
November 22, 1943 |
Drummondville, QC, CAN
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight||172 lb (78 kg; 12 st 4 lb)|
|Hall of Fame, 1982|
Yvan Serge "The Roadrunner" Cournoyer (born November 22, 1943) is a retired Canadian hockey right winger who played in the National Hockey League for the Montreal Canadiens from 1963 to 1979. Cournoyer was born in Drummondville, Quebec. He was nicknamed "The Roadrunner" due to his small size and blazing speed, which he credited to longer blades on his skates. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.
Professional career 
Cournoyer's professional hockey career began in 1961 with the Montreal Junior Canadiens of the Ontario Hockey Association. By the time he was eighteen years old, his legs had become so muscular that he required specially tailored pants. Cournoyer made his NHL debut in 1963 with the Montreal Canadiens and earned a full-time spot with the club in 1964 after just seven games with the American Hockey League's Quebec Aces.
Cournoyer was initially regarded by Canadiens head coach Toe Blake as a defensive liability and undeserving of a regular shift, though he was still frequently used on the power play. That changed after Blake's departure following the 1968 Stanley Cup Championship, when incoming coach Claude Ruel granted Cournoyer a full-time shift. Cournoyer went on to have his first forty-goal season in 1968–69 and was named to the NHL's Second All-Star Team.
Cournoyer scored a career high 47 goals in the 1971–72 season. In 1973, he had his best postseason ever, scoring 15 goals and tallying 10 assists in 17 games, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy following the Canadiens' defeat of the Chicago Black Hawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Cournoyer was named captain of the Canadiens in 1975 following the retirement of Henri Richard, pushing him to play harder in his new leadership role. Cournoyer would become only one of the Habs' two captains to win Stanley Cups throughout his entire (2+ year) tenure as captain, the other one being Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Henri's older brother. The speedy Cournoyer's ability to stay true to his form in his older age was a favorite topic of discussion of the Montreal fans and hockey media, however, and he did slow down due to a disc in his back that was pressing on a nerve and causing him great pain. Cournoyer eventually had to have surgery on his back and missed the entire 1977 postseason.
Cournoyer returned for the 1978 season and played in 68 games, scoring 24 goals and collecting 29 assists to match his previous season's total of 53 points, though it was evident his back still bothered him. He managed to perform in the playoffs again, however, with seven goals and four assists in fifteen games en route to Montreal's third consecutive Cup. However, he was forced to retire in 1978 after playing in fifteen games. When he retired, he only trailed Guy Lafleur, Maurice Richard, and Jean Beliveau on the Canadiens' all-time scoring list. Cournoyer won a total of 10 Stanley Cups as player, second only to Henri Richard. His name was engraved on the cup in 1965-66-68-69-71-73-76-77-78-79.
Cournoyer played for Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, scoring three goals (including one in the final game), and is part of the famous picture wherein Paul Henderson jumps into his arms after scoring the game (and series) winner.
Cournoyer coached the Montreal Roadrunners during the 1994–95 season and was an assistant coach to the Canadiens during the 1996–97 season. He currently serves as an official ambassador to the Montreal Canadiens.
Career statistics 
|1961–62||Montreal Junior Canadiens||OHA||32||15||16||31||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1962–63||Montreal Junior Canadiens||OHA||36||37||27||64||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1963–64||Montreal Junior Canadiens||OHA||53||63||48||111||0||—||—||—||—||—|
See also 
- "Legends of Hockey -- The Legends -- Honoured Player -- Cournoyer, Yvan -- Biography". Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- "Yvan Cournoyer's profile at hockeydb.com". Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- Yvan Cournoyer's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Yvan Cournoyer's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Montreal Canadiens captain
|Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy