Career

Mario Lemieux Foundation - Career

Mario Lemieux will forever be remembered for his incredible feats of skill, agility and power on the ice. He won numerous National Hockey League awards, including six scoring titles and three Most Valuable Player awards. But what hockey fans may recall most fondly is Mario’s courage in his fight against Hodgkin’s disease in the middle of the 1992-93 season.

In January 1993, Mario was enjoying the greatest season of his brilliant career, and was on pace to establish a new NHL scoring record. Then he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s. On the morning of March 2, 1993, Mario finished his last radiation treatment, took a plane to Philadelphia, and scored a goal and an assist against the Flyers.

He picked up his level of play right where it had been before his illness, and led his team to a 17-game winning streak and the best regular-season record in the NHL. Along the way, he earned his fourth scoring title and second Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.

Mario LemieuxThe courage and strength Mario showed during the treatments and after his return to hockey was an inspiration to all those who watched him. “Considering all the factors involved, Mario’s performance after his return from the radiation treatments has to be considered one of the greatest feats in the history of professional sports,” said former Penguins’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Craig Patrick. “I thought I had seen it all with this young man, but he gave us new visions and new dimensions with his play after his return.”

Mario took the 1994-95 season off to recuperate from a nagging back injury and fatigue. Many thought he would never play again, but Le Magnifique came back to win his fifth NHL scoring title, his third Hart Trophy and his fifth NHL First Team All Star selection in 1995-96. In 1996-97, Mario again won the scoring title and was named an NHL First Team All Star.

From 1984 to 1997, Mario Lemieux was the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Penguins. His natural ability and desire to succeed make him the greatest all-around player in the game. In 1997, Mario was unanimously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, without having to wait the customary three years after retirement. And in November 1997, the number 66 was raised to the rafters of Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, making him the first Penguins player to have his number retired.

In 1999, Mario formed an ownership group to purchase the Penguins and save them from possible relocation out of Pittsburgh. He served as Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer while the team was reorganized. He is currently the Penguins principal owner and Chairman of the Board. He was instrumental in helping the Penguins secure a deal with state and local officials to build CONSOL Energy Center, which would become the new home of the Pens in 2010.

Mario LemieuxIn December of 2000, Mario Lemieux announced his return to the ice after three years of retirement and helped the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals.Mario played parts of four more seasons with the Penguins until he made his final retirement from the game of hockey in January of 2006. His retirement officially marked Mario’s passing of the torch to 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick Sidney Crosby to lead the Penguins into a new era.

Mario fulfilled a lifelong dream in February of 2002 when he led the Canadian Olympic hockey team to its first gold medal since 1952. In one of the most exciting and unforgettable hockey tournaments ever, Mario scored six points including a two-goal performance in the preliminary round against the Czech Republic. Canada defeated the United States 5-2 in the gold medal game.

When the Pittsburgh Penguins won their third Stanley Cup Championship in 2009, Mario became the only person to ever win the Stanley Cup as both a player and owner.

  • Stanley Cup Championships
    as a player: 2 (1991, 1992)
  • Art Ross Trophies
    (scoring titles): 6
  • Hart Trophies
    (most valuable player): 3
  • Conn Smythe Trophies
    (most valuable player in the playoffs): 2
  • NHL First Team All Star:6
    (1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997)
  • Calder Memorial Trophy
    (rookie of the year): 1985
  • One of only four players in league history to have won five or more scoring titles
  • One of only three players in league history to have won the Ross, Hart, Smythe and Calder Trophies
  • Holds the second highest points-per-game average in league history
  • Penguins’ all-time leader in goals, assists and points
  • Drafted first overall in the 1984 entry draft
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, November 1997
  • Olympic Gold Medalist, February 2002
  • Stanley Cup Championship as an owner: 1 (2009)