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When we all had to get used to Guy Lafleur's 'retirement'

When Guy Lafleur decided to step away from the game of hockey, he told CBC that his fans accepted the decision, even if it saddened them.

Legendary Montreal Canadiens forward hung up his skates in 1984, but later un-retired himself

In December 1984, Guy Lafleur talks about his plans after retiring from his playing days. 2:35
Retirement at 33? That was the plan for Guy Lafleur as 1984 came to a close.

The Montreal Canadiens star had announced in November that he was going to stop playing hockey — and that's what he did, after scoring just two goals in 19 games that fall.

The decision upset many fans, though No. 10 said they supported him, even if his decision to leave his on-ice days behind him made them sad.
Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (right) checks Montreal Canadiens Guy Lafleur during NHL action in Montreal, March 2, 1982. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

"I guess everybody is happy for me, [but] disappointed that I quit hockey," Lafleur told CBC-TV's Front Page Challenge, when appearing on the show that December, a couple of weeks after he decided to hang up his skates.

He admitted on the show that retirement would relieve the pressure on him that he faced as a professional athlete.

"It's a big relief getting out of it ... I was putting pressure on myself, because I wanted to do the same thing that I used to do six, seven years ago and I didn't accept [doing] less," said Lafleur, who had won five Stanley Cups while playing with Montreal.

"That was my biggest problem."

A retirement that wouldn't last

And yes, the Front Page Challenge panel had heard the news of Lafleur's retirement, as they were able to very quickly guess that was the story and that he was the mystery guest, as shown in the clip below.

The Front Page Challenge attempts to guess the identity of mystery guest Guy Lafleur in 1980. 1:08

Lafleur's retirement didn't last forever, as hockey fans well know. 

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and then re-entered the NHL to play for the New York Rangers that same year.

After a season in New York, he played his final two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques. After that, he retired again — this time for good.