Guy Chouinard

This clever center racked up some respectable numbers during his 10 year NHL career.

Called "Gramps" by his teammates because of his looks which made him appear a lot older than he was, Guy Chouinard emerged as the Flames offensive leader. Teaming memorably with Billy MacMillan, Chouinard was a creative offensive force with a deadly accurate shot and soft hands. For a brief time he was considered to be the third best center in the National Hockey League.

Chouinard had a good junior career with the Québec Remparts where he scored 147 goals and 359 points in 179 games between 1971 and 1974. He formed a devastating line in Québec with Andre Savard and Jacques Richard. Guy was only 17 when he was drafted by Atlanta Flames in 1974 (Atlanta's 1st choice, 28th overall), making him the youngest player in professional hockey during the 1974-75 season when he played for Omaha (CHL). He was named the Rookie of the Year in the Central Hockey League and even got to play 5 NHL games for Atlanta.

The following season Guy was loaned to Nova Scotia Voyageurs (AHL), Montreal Canadiens farm team.

"Ken Houston, Noel Price and myself were on loan there," Guy fondly recalled. "Al MacNeill (Voyageurs coach) helped me a lot while I was there. He worked with me a lot even though I belonged to another team. I was brought up on the Montreal Canadiens and just being on their farm was a big thrill for me. And Al did things with me that maybe other guys wouldn't have because I wasn't their property. I played there with Pierre Mondou, Gilles Lupien, Brian Engblom, Bill Nyrop, Rick Chartraw, Glenn Goldup, Ron Andruff. We had a good team. It was a good time for me and helped me a lot for the future."

It did indeed. Guy's defensive play improved significantly, readying him for the NHL. He quickly became one of the offensive catalysts on the Flames team. In 1978-79 Guy exploded for 107 points, including 50 goals, becoming the first Flame to reach the magic 50 goal plateau, and the 21st player in NHL history. It was a tremendous season where everything seemed to go in for Guy. He had eleven 2 goal games and was held of the score sheet just 16 times in 80 games. He would finish third in All Star voting, ranking behind only Marcel Dionne and Bryan Trottier.

The following season Guy had 77 points in 76 games and in 1980-81, now relocated in Calgary, he was off to another flying start. But then he suffered a serious shoulder dislocation, causing him to miss 28 games. He still managed to score an impressive 83 points in only 52 games and another 17 points in 16 playoff games. In 1981-82 Guy's injury problems continued. Despite a nagging groin pull, he scored a fine 80 points in 64 games.

Guy never got back to the form he once had and was eventually traded to St. Louis on September 6, 1983. In St. Louis he played one more season. Because of his bum knee Guy could not make the Blues roster at the 1984 training camp and was sent down to Peoria (IHL). He only played 9 games there before hanging 'em up barely 29 years old.

Guy could have played another 4-5 years but he had enough. Years before Guy retired he had the following thoughts on retirement:

" My philosophy is simple. And that is that you fire all the ammunition you can for as long as you can. When you can no longer give your best and cannot help the team, then it's time to hang 'em up. You should always strive to be a rising star in whatever business you're involved in."

Sadly enough Guy Chouinard ran out of ammunition too early.

In retirement Guy Chouinard has become one of the longest serving and successful coaches back in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His nephew Marc also made it to the National Hockey League.


Paul 11:53 AM  

Hockey Digest's December 1979 issue put Chouinard on the second team of its prediction of the "Team of the 1980s." Who knew?

Incidentally, he played with Bob MacMillan, not Billy.

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