The Canadiens didn’t pile up 100 years of history without the blood, sweat and tears of the over 750 players to have ever worn the uniform. From the likes of Donald Audette to Zarley Zalapski, there are former Habs scattered all over the world. Although many hardcore Canadiens fans can rattle off the career accomplishments of hundreds of their old heroes, the question remains: what are these guys up to today? On the hot seat today: Claude Lemieux.
Where are you living these days?
I’ve been shuttling back and forth between Phoenix and Toronto the past three years. I’ve spent a little more time in Toronto the last little while but I think I’ll be going to Phoenix more and more as the years go on.
What are you up to now?
I’m working two jobs, actually. I’m the president of GRAF Canada – we make hockey equipment, especially skates. I’m also the president for North America of 4Sports & Entertainment. The company is based in Switzerland and we represent athletes in many different sports. I’m in charge of building the hockey business. Brandon Prust is actually one of our clients.
How many times a year do you lace up the skates?
I try to play between six and 12 pickup games a year. It was a bit tough last year because I was so busy but I try to stay active. It’s always fun to get out there and play.
Have you stayed in touch with your old teammates?
There’s always something going on with the Canadiens Alumni; lots of alumni games on the schedule every year. I see the guys when I make it out to those games.
How many Canadiens games do you watch each year?
I follow the league pretty closely because I have quite a few clients playing in the NHL. It’s my job to support them and to keep up with what’s happening across the league.
When was the last time you were at the Bell Centre for a game?
It was at the end of last season.
Is there a game in particular from your career with the Canadiens that really stands out?
The playoff game against the Hartford Whalers where I scored the game-winner in double overtime. I’ll never forget that game because if we hadn’t won, our season would have been over then and there and we wouldn’t have gone on to win the Cup. People still talk about that with me to this day.
What’s your favorite or most treasured memento from your playing days?
The jersey I wore in my first-ever exhibition game with the Canadiens. I found it on the Internet a few years ago. You can see that the name on the back changed over the years. Mark Holden wore No.32 before me and you can see his name was replaced by “Lemieux” on the jersey. The guy who had my jersey wasn’t about to give me any discounts, either; I paid $5,000 for it! I never understood how he could collect from me before I’d even had a chance to verify if it was the legit jersey or not…
Where do you keep your Stanley Cup ring?
I kept all of my rings and trophies. They remind me of all the great moments I had in my career.
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