Marcel Elphège “Little Beaver” Dionne (born August 3, 1951) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey centre who played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. Marcel Dionne was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
Dionne’s first junior season was in 1968 for the Drummondville Rangers of the former Quebec Junior Hockey League, in which he scored over two goals a game in Drummondville’s losing effort in the Memorial Cup playoffs.
When the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League formed in 1969, Dionne departed to play in the Ontario Hockey Association, then-regarded as a higher-calibre level of competition, spending the next three seasons with the St. Catharines Black Hawks. He became the league’s preeminent star, winning scoring titles in 1970 and 1971 and adding a record 122 points in 43 playoff games.
Dionne’s scoring feats were marred by one of the most infamous events in Canadian junior hockey during the 1971 Richardson Cup finals against the Quebec Remparts. Following a riot in Quebec City after the penalty-filled fourth game of the series in which Dionne’s Black Hawks’ team bus was attacked by the mob, the fifth game was played at a neutral site, and the remainder of the series was not played due to fears of further violence.
Dionne finished his junior career by shattering the OHA’s career scoring record, which was not broken until Dale McCourt did so in the 1977 season. He was subsequently drafted in the first round (second overall, behind Rempart rival Guy Lafleur) by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1971 NHL Entry Draft.
Dionne played his first four seasons with the Red Wings, where he was one of the few stars on an otherwise stagnant team that failed to make the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings
Despite having legendary teammates such as Alex Delvecchio and Mickey Redmond, Dionne’s frustrations with losing were evident. His agent, Alan Eaglesonpushed for more money and found it in an unlikely place. The owner of the Los Angeles Kings, Jack Kent Cooke, offered Dionne $300,000 per year. A deal was struck with the Red Wings for compensation, and Dionne signed with the Kings and became its franchise player. At the time, it was the richest deal in hockey history.
During his time with the Los Angeles Kings, he played 11 and a half seasons and formed the famed “Triple Crown Line“, centreing Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor. Despite his high scoring production during the regular season he was frustrated with the Kings’ lack of playoff success; they made the postseason from 1976–82 but only advanced to the second round three times for a total of 43 playoff games. During the 1986–87 season, Dionne mentored the rookies of the Kings as Mickey Redmond mentored him during his rookie years in Detroit. He took eventual Calder Trophy winner Luc Robitaille, Jimmy Carson andSteve Duchesne under his wing.
Despite the strong rapport with the rookies, there was also a falling out with Coach Pat Quinn. With the Kings on track to miss the playoffs, he demanded a trade. Dionne had hoped that his threat would get General Manager Rogie Vachon to make some major moves to rejuvenate the stagnating team, and he was surprised and disappointed when Vachon actually traded him to the New York Rangers.
New York Rangers
He played his remaining two and a half seasons there, where the Rangers lost in the first round of the playoffs and missed the next two. He retired in 1989. One consolation was that he would finally have Guy Lafleur as his teammate to mark the beginning of the 1988–89 NHL season.
In January 2004, Dionne was featured on a Canadian postage stamp. As part of the NHL All-Stars Collection, Dionne was immortalized along with five other All-Stars.
During his first season for Detroit in 1972, he set an NHL record for scoring by a rookie with 77 points. This record has since been surpassed.
His best season was 1979–80 when he had 137 points. That season, he was tied for the league lead in points with Wayne Gretzky. Dionne was awarded the Art Ross Trophy for scoring two more goals than Gretzky. (Interestingly, from 1969 to 2001, Dionne and Bryan Trottier were the only single-time winners of the scoring title, while Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr had won it on multiple occasions.) Dionne also won the Ted Lindsay Award (formally called the Lester B. Pearson Award) in 1979 and 1980, and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1975 and 1977.
Dionne was the third of six men to reach the 700-goal plateau, and currently ranks fourth among all-time goal scorers, with 731. He is ranked fifth in points, with 1771. He is ninth in career assists with 1,040. He was second in assists, goals, and points when he retired in 1989 (he is 70 goals, 9 assists, and 79 points behind Gordie Howe in all categories).
He was also the last active player in the NHL that participated in the 1972 Summit Series. Despite not playing in the 1972 Summit Series, he did play for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup and the 1981 Canada Cup. For the 1976 Canada Cup, his linesmates were Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito. He was also on a line with Lanny McDonald and Darryl Sittler and they were on the ice when the tournament winning goal was scored. While on the 1981 team, he was on a line with Wayne Gretzky and Guy Lafleur.
Dionne is third in the NHL for most 100+ point seasons. He has had eight 100+ point seasons in his NHL career, only behind Wayne Gretzky’s fourteen 100+ point seasons and Mario Lemieux’s ten 100+ point seasons.
Marcel Dionne was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992. In 1998, he was ranked number 38 on The Hockey News‘ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, the highest-ranking player to have not won a Stanley Cup since 2001 when No. 14-ranked Ray Bourque won with the Colorado Avalanche. Dionne had not come close to doing so, as he never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs. When the Los Angeles Kings finally reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1993, after advancing to and winning their first conference finals, Dionne gave Dave Taylor a congratulatory call.
Prior to the start of the 1993-94 season, Dionne helped to create local interest in the ECHL‘s newest franchise, the South Carolina Stingrays. With the help of some young players, Dionne gave an on-ice demonstration of the rules of hockey to the southern audience.
Dionne currently resides in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and owns Marcel Dionne enterprises. He is an occasional member of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team despite never playing, or living there as a player.
He is also a Royal Ambassador for the Kings organization.
|1968–69||St. Catharines Black Hawks||OHA||48||37||63||100||38||18||15||20||35||8|
|1969–70||St. Catharines Black Hawks||OHA||54||55||77||132||46||10||12||20||32||10|
|1970–71||St. Catharines Black Hawks||OHA||46||62||81||143||20||15||29||26||55||11|
|1971–72||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||78||28||49||77||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|1972–73||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||77||40||50||90||21||—||—||—||—||—|
|1973–74||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||74||24||54||78||10||—||—||—||—||—|
|1974–75||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||80||47||74||121||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|1975–76||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||40||54||94||38||9||6||1||7||0|
|1976–77||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||53||69||122||12||9||5||9||14||2|
|1977–78||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||70||36||43||79||37||2||0||0||0||0|
|1978–79||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||59||71||130||30||2||0||1||1||0|
|1979–80||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||53||84||137||32||4||0||3||3||4|
|1980–81||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||58||77||135||70||4||1||3||4||7|
|1981–82||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||78||50||67||117||50||10||7||4||11||0|
|1982–83||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||56||51||107||22||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983–84||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||66||39||53||92||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984–85||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||46||80||126||46||3||1||2||3||2|
|1985–86||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||36||58||94||42||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986–87||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||67||24||50||74||54||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986–87||New York Rangers||NHL||14||4||6||10||6||6||1||1||2||2|
|1987–88||New York Rangers||NHL||67||31||34||65||54||—||—||—||—||—|
|1988–89||New York Rangers||NHL||37||7||16||23||20||—||—||—||—||—|
- 1969–70 – Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy Winner
- 1969–70 – OHA Second All-Star Team
- 1970–71 – OHA First All-Star Team
- 1970–71 – Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy Winner
- 1974–75 – Lady Byng Trophy Winner
- 1974–75 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1975–76 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1976–77 – Lady Byng Trophy Winner
- 1976–77 – NHL First Team All-Star
- 1976–77 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1977–78 – Named Best Forward at the World Hockey Championships
- 1977–78 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1978–79 – NHL Second Team All-Star
- 1978–79 – Lester B. Pearson Award Winner
- 1979–80 – NHL First Team All-Star
- 1979–80 – Lester B. Pearson Award Winner
- 1979–80 – Art Ross Trophy Winner
- 1979–80 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1980–81 – NHL Second Team All-Star
- 1980–81 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1982–83 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1984–85 – Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 1992 – Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
- Traded to Los Angeles Kings by Detroit with Bart Crashley for Terry Harper, Dan Maloney, and Los Angeles’ 2nd Round Pick in 1976 (The Draft Pick was later dealt to the Minnesota North Stars and they drafted Jim Roberts)
- Traded to the New York Rangers by Los Angeles with Jeff Crossman and Los Angeles’ 3rd Round Pick in 1989 (The Draft Pick was later dealt to the Minnesota North Stars and they drafted Murray Garboutt) for Bobby Carpenter and Tom Laidlaw.