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Born October 7, 1952(1952-10-07),
Quebec City, PQ, CAN
Died October 8, 2002 (aged 50),
Quebec City, PQ, CAN
Height
Weight
5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Centre
Pro clubs Atlanta Flames
Buffalo Sabres,
Quebec Nordiques
Rochester Americans (AHL),
Hershey Bears (AHL),
Fredericton Express (AHL)
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 1972
Atlanta Flames
Career 1972 – 1983

Jacques A.G. Richard (October 7, 1952 – October 8, 2002) was a professional ice hockey centre who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Atlanta Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and Quebec Nordiques.[1][2] After an impressive junior career, Jacques Richard was considered a potential NHL superstar, but failed to live up to the promise. Trouble followed him during his career and, tragically, even into retirement. In 2002 Jacques Richard died in a car accident after celebrating his 50th birthday.

Contents

Junior career

Jacques Richard had a spectacular junior career with the Quebec Remparts, scoring 186 goals and 213 assists for 399 points in only 169 games.[3] Playing with Guy Chouinard and Andre Savard he was a significant component of a devastating trio.[4] At the time Richard was considered by some to have equal, if not more, pro potential than teammate Guy Lafleur.[5][6]

Pro career

For the 1972-73 seaon the NHL added two teams, the Atlanta Flames and the New York Islanders, with a coin toss in June of 1972 deciding which team would get the first choice in the draft. Concerned that the new WHA might sign the two top prospects, Billy Harris and Jacques Richard, the two expansion teams held their own "clandestine" coin toss in advance. New York won that toss and chose Billy Harris. This allowed the teams to begin immediate negotiations with the players.[7]

Jacques Richard was drafted 2nd overall in the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft.[1][3] Jacques Richard was slated to be the marqee player by the expansion Atlanta Flames.[5] However, he was to have a mostly indifferent pro career. Troubled at times by serious injuries, facial fractures in 1974-75 and a knee injury 1979-80[8], he also indulged in alcohol, gambling and eventually cocaine.[5]

His rookie year in Atlanta was a disappointment. Richard rarely spoke to anyone that first year, perhaps a clue to problems adapting to the NHL, and he finished the season scoring only 13 goals.[9] Teamed in his second season with Tom Lysiak his prospects seems brighter as he scored 27 goals.[9] However, his play would eventually prove inadequate and he would begin to find himself shuffled between the NHL and the minors. After three years with Atlanta, he was finally traded to Buffalo.

Buffalo Sabre General Manager Punch Imlach in his book "Heaven and Hell in the NHL" recalled his travails dealing with Richard's drinking. On one occasion, Richard was forced to miss a game due to a sprained wrist which had been hurt in a bar fight. On another, he barely missed being shot by a patron in a bar. Imlach describes Richard as "a nice kid, good hockey player" but he was "wasting his talent".[10] Richard spent the next five seasons alternating between the NHL and playing full seasons in the minors. He was finally traded again, this time to Quebec.[8]

Now, in his eighth year as a pro and back in the city of his junior triumphs, the promise shown as a junior appeared to finally be realized. In the 1980–81 season playing on a line with the Stastny brothers[8] Richard tallied 52 goals and 51 assists for 103 points,[1][3][11] to finish 10th in the league in points and 7th in goals.[2] However, this was to be the only time he was to show this potential. The next season he was moved off the line with the Stastnys and his mediocre play returned.[5][6] He retired in 1983.[3]

Retirement and Death

Sadly, Richard's troubles continued after hockey. In 1989 he was arrested for attempting to smuggle cocaine, with an estimated street value of $1.5 million, into Canada. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.[11] Then, on October 8, 2002, driving home from his 50th birthday party, Richard was killed in a single-vehicle accident when he drove his car into a culvert.[6][8]

Awards and Honours

QMJHL All-Star First Team: 1970-71, 1971-72[3]
QMJHL Beliveau Trophy: 1971-72 (points leader)[3]
Named to QMJHL all-time All-Star team by the Canadian Hockey League in 1999.[8]

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1967–68 Quebec Jr. Aces QJAHL 50 18 18 36 ?
1968–69 Quebec Jr. Aces QJAHL 50 23 40 63 78
1969–70 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 52 62 64 126 170 15 11 14 25 30
1970–71 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 55 53 60 113 125 14 18 17 35 42
1971–72 Quebec Remparts QMJHL 61 71 89 160 100 15 11 26 37 23
1972–73 Atlanta Flames NHL 74 13 18 31 32
1973–74 Atlanta Flames NHL 78 27 16 43 45 4 0 0 0 2
1974–75 Atlanta Flames NHL 63 17 12 29 31
1975–76 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 12 23 35 31 9 1 1 2 7
1976–77 Hershey Bears AHL 44 20 25 45 42 6 3 0 3 2
1976–77 Buffalo Sabres NHL 21 2 0 2 16
1977–78 Hershey Bears AHL 54 25 23 48 29
1978–79 Buffalo Sabres NHL 61 10 15 25 26 3 1 0 1 0
1979–80 Rochester Americans AHL 37 13 23 36 37
1979–80 Quebec Nordiques NHL 14 3 12 15 4
1980–81 Quebec Nordiques NHL 78 52 51 103 39 5 2 4 6 14
1981–82 Quebec Nordiques NHL 59 15 26 41 77 10 1 0 1 9
1982–83 Fredericton Express AHL 19 16 15 31 16
1982–83 Quebec Nordiques NHL 35 9 14 23 6 4 0 0 0 2
NHL totals 556 160 187 347 307 35 5 5 10 34

References

  1. ^ a b c "Jacques Richard's profile at hockeydb.com". hockeyDB.com. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=4548. Retrieved April 27 2009.  
  2. ^ a b "Detailed statistics for Richard's amateur and pro career". hockey-reference.com. http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/r/richaja01.html. Retrieved April 27 2009.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f Diamond, Dan (1998). Total Hockey: the Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League. Total Sports. p. 1419. ISBN 0-8362-7114-9.  
  4. ^ "Linemates in junior". http://flameslegends.blogspot.com/2007/04/guy-chouinard.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  5. ^ a b c d "Jacques Richard bio at Legends of Hockey". Hockey Hall of Fame. http://www.legendsofhockey.net/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/SearchPlayer.jsp?player=14113. Retrieved Sept.19, 2009.  
  6. ^ a b c "bnet article on Richard's death and career". http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCM/is_5_31/ai_97058308/. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  7. ^ Proudfoot, Jim (May 31, 1972). "New NHL teams broke the rules". Toronto Daily Star: p. 22.  
  8. ^ a b c d e "Details of Richard's career at Hockeydraftcentral.com". hockeydraftcentral.com. http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1972/72002.html. Retrieved April 27 2009.  
  9. ^ a b Fischler, Stan,Shirley (2003). Who's Who in Hockey. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 352. ISBN 0-7407-1904-1.  
  10. ^ Imlach, Punch (1982). Heaven and Hell in the NHL. McClelland and Stewart Limited. p. 96. ISBN 0-88780-141-2.  
  11. ^ a b "New York Times on Richard's death and earlier arrest". nytimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/14/sports/jacques-richard-50-played-in-the-nhl.html. Retrieved April 27 2009.  
Preceded by
None
Atlanta Flames first round draft pick
1972
Succeeded by
Tom Lysiak
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