1708023455 Back for the first time 60 years after winning the

Back for the first time, 60 years after winning the Pee Wee Tournament with Guy Lafleur

When Gilles Duguay arrived at the Videotron Center on Wednesday, he was entering the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament for the first time since 1964. This year he took part as a player and not with any team: that of Thurso, led by a certain Guy Lafleur.

Mr. Duguay, a childhood friend of the demon blonde, won the prestigious tournament alongside Lafleur in 1963 and 1964.

In these same years the legend of Lafleur was born.

“I wanted to come back last year because it was 60 years since we won in 1963, but I missed it. During the holidays I decided to witness the 60th anniversary of our 1964 championship!” says the man who left his home in Mont-Laurier on Tuesday and will spend a few days in Quebec with his partner Chantal.

Certainly a lot has changed since his time at the tournament, starting with the amphitheater. We've come a long way from the Quebec Colisée of the 60s!

But the memories remain the same.

Beyond the two championships, Mr. Duguay experienced the popularity explosion of a young Lafleur, turning everything he touched into gold.

“He made me score a few goals, Guy,” he says, laughing. In 1964 our trainer Ti-Paul [Jean-Paul] Meloche had put him on defense so that he would be less covered. He skated from one end of the rink to the other, outplaying everyone else, and we just had to follow him because he gave it to us. He wasn’t selfish at all!”

Gilles Duguay spent his first day at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament since participating in 1964 with Guy Lafleur's Thurso team.

Gilles Duguay Photo Stevens LeBlanc

Mr Duguay still remembers the times when he arrived at the Colosseum with his team and it was almost impossible to get in as several thousand people lined up hoping to get in and see the young prodigy from Thurso at work.

“Before the semi-final we arrived at 7am and couldn’t get in. Everyone came to see Guy. The rest of us loved it! Our friend had fun. But Guy, that didn't change anything. He was always very humble.

“Man, the Colosseum, he filled it, but he didn’t mind. He wanted to go there to win and his friends had to go with him.”

An extraordinary talent

Gilles Duguay, who finished the 1964 tournament with seven goals and eleven assists in five games thanks to Guy, also assures that this enthusiasm was completely justified and that the stories about him are not exaggerated.

“He hurt the goalies with his slap shot. I once saw him shoot a shot into the goalkeeper's glove, but it was so strong that the glove went into the goal. Another time, Guy arrived in a breakaway and faked a slap shot, causing the goalie to back away from the goal! All he had to do was put the puck in the net.

But beyond his on-ice exploits, Duguay also remembers all the moments he spent with Lafleur off the rink.

Because beyond his fame, Lafleur and his friends from Thurso were able to experience the pee-wee tournament like every young person their age since.

“Our boarding families left us at the Colosseum at 7 a.m. before we went to work and we spent our days there playing mini hockey. We had a total budget of $5 for the week and a gentleman managed our budget. For 25 cents you could get a shot and two hot dogs,” he remembers.

Gilles Duguay spent his first day at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament since participating in 1964 with Guy Lafleur's Thurso team.

Guy Lafleur, center, with his Thurso teammates on February 7, 1964. Archive photo, Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament Collection, Fonds Photo Moderne

The influence of Ti-Paul

He wasn't as well-known as Lafleur, but Mr. Duguay assures that their coach in 1964, Jean-Paul “Ti-Paul” Meloche, had a big influence on their young championship team.

“He was a very psychologically focused guy. At one point he pretended to be injured in the hotel and told us he couldn't come and coach us. Then he came on crutches just to motivate us! Another time it was 1-1 after two periods and he told us that if we lost we would go home. I think the game ultimately ended 8-1. He was our national Ti-Paul, a motivator like Jacques Demers,” he laughs.

In contact

Duguay and Lafleur grew up together; their fathers were good friends. Even at a young age, it was clear that the young blonde demon was destined to achieve greatness, or at least that he was taking the necessary steps to get there.

“The guy was always going one way or the other. He trained 365 days a year and it wasn't thanks to his father, who was very quiet. It came from him.”

Over time they lost touch a little. Mr. Duguay saw the end of his hockey career at the age of 18 when he decided to start a career in the world of financial institutions (he was a bank manager for several years), while Lafleur obviously continued his rise in hockey to become a star player of the NHL.

Although they no longer saw each other as often as before – they reunited occasionally in the summer when Lafleur returned to Thurso – Mr Duguay diligently followed his childhood friend's career.

“I never had any doubt that he would have the success that he did,” he swears.

However, he admits that he was angry at Scotty Bowman for using Lafleur in his early days in the NHL. But to this day he remains even angrier at Jacques Lemaire for the treatment he received at the end of his career with the Canadian.

“I will blame him for the rest of my life.”

A little book that contains little miracles…

Gilles Duguay spent his first day at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament since participating in 1964 with Guy Lafleur's Thurso team.

Courtesy of the Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament Collection, Modern Photo Fund

While searching his archives, Gilles Duguay came across a booklet containing personal notes from Brother Léo Jacques, the director of the Sainte Famille school and a very important person in Lafleur's early life. Since he had two copies, he was generous enough to give us one. These notes, titled “Tributes to Guy Lafleur,” recount some of the best moments from Lafleur’s early days in hockey. Here are some excerpts regarding his performances at the Pee Wee Tournament.

Gilles Duguay spent his first day at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament since participating in 1964 with Guy Lafleur's Thurso team.

Brother Léo Jacques had given his former players a collection of notes about Guy Lafleur's time in minor hockey. Photo Kevin Dube

In 1962, Ontario club Rockland asked Thurso to loan them the young Lafleur, aged 10, for the Pee-Wee tournament. The following passage tells of the evening of departure for Quebec…

“To get to Rockland, Guy had to cross the river on the ice. That evening a storm began. Accompanied by his father and mother, Guy set off for the crossing. But in the middle of it all, father and mother had to give up. However, Guy was determined to get to Quebec and carried his equipment alone with his wild train. Luckily, the people from Rockland came to meet him with reflectors. We went to Quebec with difficulties and misery.”

On Lafleur's second visit, this time to Thurso, in 1963…

“I would like to note a fact about this tournament: one day the Quebec Aces defeated Rochester of the American League, and the manager of the latter club was in a sad mood. The coach stayed near the ramp and watched our youngsters practice before the game. Seeing the enthusiasm and way our young guys were training, this instructor ran into his players' room and invited them all across the rink, and just then Guy Lafleur let loose a rare slap shot. Seen, and the instructor said to his men, “Look at these young people! If you had given half as much effort, we would have won this game!”

During his last participation in 1964…

“This year, more than ever, we had the people of Quebec on our side, especially after we managed to convince the speaker at the Colosseum that Thurso was a Quebec city and not Ontario, as he said. said it for a long time. […] We talked about the club, but especially about its star: GUY LAFLEUR. At every point, even on every climb, the crowd was delirious. Since then, Guy has been considered integrated into the city of Quebec.”