Yvan Cournoyer

Yvan Serge Cournoyer (born November 22, 1943) is a Canadian retired 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. In 2017 Cournoyer was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.[1]

Yvan Cournoyer
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1982
Cournoyer at the 2008 Legends Classic game.
Born (1943-11-22) November 22, 1943
Drummondville, Quebec, Canada
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 172 lb (78 kg; 12 st 4 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
Played for Montreal Canadiens
National team  Canada
Playing career 19631979

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 18 years old, his legs had become so muscular that he required specially tailored pants.[2] 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.[3]

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.[2] 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 40-goal season in 1968–69[3] 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.[3]

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.[2] 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 Richard, Henri's older brother. The speedy Cournoyer's ability to stay true to his form in his older age was a favourite 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.[2] 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 15 games en route to Montreal's third consecutive Cup.[3] However, he was forced to retire following the 1979 season after playing in just fifteen games. When he retired, he only trailed Guy Lafleur, Maurice Richard, and Jean Beliveau on the Canadiens' all-time scoring list.[2] Cournoyer won a total of 10 Stanley Cups as player (tied with Jean Béliveau), second only to Henri Richard's 11. The Cournoyer legacy includes many Top 10 Canadien records - 7th in total games played (968), 4th in goals scored (428), 7th in assists (435) and 6th in total points scored (863).

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.[3] He currently serves as an official ambassador to the Montreal Canadiens.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1960–61Lachine MaroonsMMJHL42373168
1961–62Montreal Junior CanadiensOHA-Jr.32151631864480
1962–63Montreal Junior CanadiensOHA-Jr.3637276424103476
1963–64Montreal Junior CanadiensOHA-Jr.53634811130171982715
1963–64Montreal CanadiensNHL54040
1964–65Montreal CanadiensNHL557101710123140
1964–65Quebec AcesAHL72130
1965–66Montreal CanadiensNHL651811298102352
1966–67Montreal CanadiensNHL6925154014102356
1967–68Montreal CanadiensNHL64283260231368144
1968–69Montreal CanadiensNHL76434487311447115
1969–70Montreal CanadiensNHL7227366323
1970–71Montreal CanadiensNHL6537367321201012226
1971–72Montreal CanadiensNHL734736831562132
1972–73Montreal CanadiensNHL6740397918171510252
1973–74Montreal CanadiensNHL674033731865272
1974–75Montreal CanadiensNHL76294574321156114
1975–76Montreal CanadiensNHL7132366820133694
1976–77Montreal CanadiensNHL602528538
1977–78Montreal CanadiensNHL682429531215741110
1978–79Montreal CanadiensNHL152572
NHL totals 968 428 435 863 255 147 64 63 127 47


Years Teams Events   GP G A Pts PIM
1972 Canada SS 8 3 2 5 2

See also


  1. "100 Greatest NHL Players". NHL.com. January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  2. "Legends of Hockey -- The Legends -- Honoured Player -- Cournoyer, Yvan -- Biography". Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  3. "Yvan Cournoyer's profile at hockeydb.com". Retrieved 2008-04-20.
Preceded by
Henri Richard
Montreal Canadiens captain
Succeeded by
Serge Savard
Preceded by
Bobby Orr
Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
Succeeded by
Bernie Parent
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