Perhaps a bit unsung, Jacques Laperriere has a Calder Trophy, Norris Trophy, five Stanley Cup championships* and an induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame to his name. Laperriere spent his entire National Hockey League career with the Montreal Canadiens, starting in the era directly following the Maurice Richard led dynasty of the late 1950’s. He is still involved in the NHL today as a special assignment coach with the New Jersey Devils.
Jacques Laperriere – Playing Career
Jacques played in the NHL from 1962-63 to 1973-74, all with the Montreal Canadiens. Over that time, the defenseman played in 691 regular season games, scoring 40 and assisting on 242 for 282 points. He appeared in an additional 88 Stanley Cup playoff games, adding 31 points. His first year consisted of just six regular season and two playoff games while spending the rest of the 1962-63 season in the EPHL with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens.
In his first full season, 1963-64, Laperriere appeared in 65 of Montreal’s 70 regular season games, scoring two goals and assisting on 28 for 30 points. He was the highest scoring defenseman on the Canadiens and was awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year. Jacques also appeared in seven Stanley Cup playoff games that year as the first place overall Canadiens were upset in the opening round by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
1964-65 brought Laperriere his first Stanley Cup championship and 1965-66 would have been his second if injuries hadn’t kept him out of the lineup for the entire playoffs. Jacques played just 57 regular season games in 1965-66 but put up awesome pre-Bobby Orr era numbers from the point with six goals and 25 assists for 31 points. Despite missing 13 regular season games and the entire playoffs, Laperriere was awarded the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman.
Jacques was on the roster for Stanley Cup championships in 1967-68, 1968-69, 1970-71 and 1972-73. However, it was the off year of 1969-70 when Laperriere showed off his offensive talents.
In 1969-70, Laperriere scored six and assisted on 31 for 37 points over 73 games. Jacques was the highest scoring defenseman on the Claude Ruel coached Canadiens. That year, Montreal was burned by a disorganized format in the National Hockey League. The Habs finished the season with 92 points over 76 games.
Jacques Laperriere Collection
96 points would have been plenty enough for first place in the expansion team laden Western Division but placed them just tied for fourth in the Eastern. The New York Rangers had an identical record as the Canadiens but scored two more goals over the 76 game schedule. Therefore, the Rangers qualified and Montreal had an early summer vacation.
Jacques Laperriere was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987. At his side were Bobby Clarke and Ed Giacomin.
Jacques Laperriere – Coaching Career
Laperriere started his work behind the bench with the Montreal Juniors in the QMJHL. Jacques coached the club for two years, 1975-76 and 1976-77. In the first year, the Juniors placed third in the five team West Division and fourth overall in the ten team league. Montreal fell to the Cornwall Royals in the opening round, four games to two, despite both teams scoring 23 goals each over the series.
The following year, Montreal fell in the standings to fourth in the five team Lebel Division and seventh overall in the ten team QMJHL. In the opening round of the playoffs, the Juniors ousted the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in eight games (the first game was a tie). There were 73 goals scored in the series with Montreal scoring 40 and Chicoutimi tallying 33. The Juniors were no match for the Quebec Remparts in the semi-finals with Quebec sweeping the series and outscoring Montreal 23-1 over the final three games.
For the 1981-82 season, Jacques stepped behind the bench of the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant coach. He remained with the club in that capacity until the end of the 1996-97 season. As assistant coach of the Habs, Laperriere earned two more Stanley Cup rings. In 1985-86, Montreal defeated the Calgary Flames in the finals with Jean Perron as head coach. In 1992-93, the Canadiens took out Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings in the finals with legendary Jacques Demers as head coach.
After leaving Montreal, Laperriere jumped right back into an assistant coaching role, this time with the Boston Bruins. He served with Boston from 1997-98 to 2000-01. For the two years after that, he was assistant coach with the New York Islanders. Since 2003-04, Jacques has been involved with the New Jersey Devils. From 2003-04 to 2006-07, he was behind the bench as an assistant coach. Since, he has served as team consultant and special assignment coach.
Jacques Laperriere – Rookie Card
There are actually two Jacques Laperriere rookie cards, both from the 1963-64 Parkhurst set. The 1963-64 Parkhurst number 27 and 1963-64 Parkhurst number 86 featured different images of Laperriere on the front but the back of the cards were identical (other than the card number). Number 27 is worth slightly higher at around five times the value of a common card. Number 86 is worth around four times the value of a common card.
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