Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hockey's 200 point seasons

Most people know that Wayne Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to score 200 points in one season, doing it on four different occasions in the 1980's. Mario Lemieux came close with 199, but that's it. Who though, were hockey's first ever and most recent 200 point men?

In 1975/76 in the minor level North American Hockey League (which was the main minor league of the WHA), Jocelyn (Joe) Hardy scored an impressive 208 points for the Beauce Jaros out of St.Georges, Quebec. Hardy was a player-coach for the first place Jaros and the first ever professional hockey player to break the 200 point plateau. His 60 goals and 148 assists in 72 games was 48 points better than the second place scorer in the league, teammate Richard Grenier.

Hardy had played 40 games with the NHLs California Golden Seals in 1970/71 notching 14 points. After a year in the AHL he scored 50 points in 72 games for the Cleveland Crusaders of the WHA and 59 points in 77 games for the Chicago Cougars. He would bounce between three WHA teams in 74/75 before his gigantic year with the Jaros. The team would fold 30 games into 76/77 and Hardy joined the Binghamton Dusters. When the Dusters joined the AHL the next year, Hardy led the league in assists with 63, and finished seventh in points with 87. His playing career would end there and he coached in the QMJHL through the mid-90s.

The Quebec junior circuit was of course the home to hockey's first and most 200 point seasons. Eleven men have scored at least 200 in one year ranging from superstars Mario Lemieux (282 in 83/84), Pat LaFontaine (234 in 82/83) and the first player ever Guy LaFleur with 209 in 1970/71. In 1973/74 there were an amazing five players with over 200 points in the "Q" led by Pierre Larouche's 251. His team the Sorel Black Hawks had seven 100 point men and averaged 8.85 goals scored each and every game.

The Ontario Hockey League has never produced a 200 point scorer and the Western League only one in Rob Brown of Kamloops. His 212 points in 1986/87 was one of the last ever hockey seasons to reach that level. The following season would see the last 200 point season at any level of North American hockey when Shawinigan's Patrice Lefebvre scored exactly 200.

The 5'6" Lefebvre would end up the career points leader in the Quebec league with 595 points in 276 games. He immediately went to Europe and play in France, then Switzerland. Lefebvre bounced between there and North America going from France, Switzerland, Louisville Kentucky, Milwaukee, back to Switzerland, Britain and finally Las Vegas. He would play the next seven seasons in Sin City scoring 576 points in 459 games before finally getting a crack at the NHL. Washington signed him in December of 1998 and he played 34 scoreless minutes over three games.

Lefebvre's odyssey would return to Europe in 1999 and take him to Germany, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy once again. He finally hung it up at the age of 40.

Hockey is still awaiting it's next 200 point scorer.

Patrice Lefebvre

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