When hockey fans think of the Peterborough Petes, they think of Chris Pronger, Steve Yzerman and Jamie Langenbrunner. When fans think of the Philadelphia Flyers, they think of Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent and maybe Eric Lindros. When fans that are old enough think of the World Hockey Association, they think of the Howes, Bobby Hull and Jacques Plante.
In all three situations, the player that comes to mind should be Andre Lacroix.
Andre played three seasons in the OHA from 1963-64 to 1965-66. He began with the Montreal Junior Canadiens and switched to the Peterborough Petes after his first season. In Peterborough, Lacroix exploded offensively. In 1964-65, he scored 45 and added 74 assists for 119 points in just 49 games. The following season, he scored 40 and assisted on 80 for 120 points in 48 games. Both seasons, he was awarded the Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player. In his final season, his 120 points gave him the Eddie Powers Trophy as the league’s top scorer. Always the playmaker with the soft hands, Andre led the league in assists for both his final two seasons.
Lacroix joined the expansion Philadelphia Flyers in their first season, 1967-68. Over the following two seasons, Andre lead the Flyers in points with 56 and 58. His NHL career consisted of 325 regular season games, mostly with the Flyers with partial seasons with each the Chicago Blackhawks and the Hartford Whalers.
It was in the WHA where the name Andre Lacroix will forever go down in history. He will forever be the league’s all-time leader in games played (551), assists (547) and points (798). He comes in slightly lower in the goals department, falling fourth in the league’s history with 251.
In six of his seven seasons in the WHA, Lacroix led his team in points. The only season he didn’t was his final season with the New England Whalers in 1978-79 when the team was led by Mark Howe. Andre twice won the Bill Hunter Trophy as the league’s top point-getter. The first time was with the Philadelphia Blazers in the first season of the WHA when he scored 50 and added 74 assists for 124 points. The second was two years later in 1974-75 with the San Diego Mariners. That season Andre scored 41 but added an astonishing 106 assists for 147 points.
At the time, his 106 assists were a professional hockey record and, along with Bobby Orr, was the only professional player to surpass the 100 assist mark. His six 100+ point seasons in a row is a feat to this day only shared by six other professional players.
Lacroix was selected to the Team Canada squad for the 1974 Summit Series that pitted the best Canadians of the WHA against the best of Russia. Andre did not disappoint as the second highest scorer on the team.
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