Guy Carbonneau is the latest of a long list of players who wore the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sixty-six Canadiens alumni were inducted prior, with the most recent being Mark Recchi who was inducted in 2017. The announcement of Guy Carbonneau being inducted was made official on Tuesday afternoon, with the actual induction ceremony happening on Monday, November 18th.
"Guy, this is John Davidson & Lanny McDonald from the @HockeyHallFame..."— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 25, 2019
Watch as Guy Carbonnneau receives the phone call and hears that he's been elected to the Class of 2019: https://t.co/lMvFdSbTYC #TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/9vaSyGb1CS
Born in Sept-Iles Quebec in 1960, Carbonneau played junior hockey in Chicoutimi with the Saguenéens where he saw steady progress in his first three seasons with the club.
The Montreal Canadiens selected Carbonneau 44th overall in the 1979 Entry Draft, to everyone’s surprise, especially the 19-year old Carbonneau who wasn’t even expecting to hear his name called for another year. “It’s the best day of my life,” Carbonneau told La Presse after the draft list was announced. “To belong to the most prestigious organization in hockey. It’s such a challenge to live up to. I started to believe that I might get drafted when Eric Taylor (Canadiens scout) called me in the morning.”
He realized that he actually got drafted once player agents began soliciting their services since he hadn’t even bothered getting an agent yet, so firm was his belief that he would not get drafted. “I assumed I would be looked over, so getting an agent was not really a priority. It’s something that I will sit down with my father and decide. For now I will let it sink in that I belong to that team. THE team. It’s so unexpected.”
Although he attended the Canadiens training camp in 1979, he returned to Chicoutimi for one last season, where he managed to score 72 goals and 182 points.
Carbonneau turned pro for the 1980-81 season, and spent two full seasons in the American Hockey League with the Canadiens farm team Nova Scotia Voyageurs where he holds the all-time record for point per game for anyone with at least 100 games played.
After signing a two-year contract extension, he headed to the Canadiens camp with a goal in mind: convince the skeptics that he is ready for the NHL. “After two years in Halifax I believe that I have completed my development in the AHL. I don’t want to come back for a third consecutive season.” There were plenty of centres outperform at camp: Pierre Mondou, Keith Acton, Doug Wickenheiser, Doug Jarvis, John Chabot, John Newberry, and Doug Risebrough.
Carbonneau made the Canadiens out of training camp that year, and spent the next 12 seasons with the team, the final five as captain of the team, although the 1989-90 season, his first as captain, was controversial due to the co-captaincy he shared with Chris Chelios.
He became known as one of the best defensive forwards of his generation, earning the Frank J. Selke trophy on three occasions 1988, 1989, and 1992. More importantly, he won three Stanley Cups in 1986, 1993, and finally in 1999 as a member of the Dallas Stars. He retired after one more season with Dallas.
After his playing career ended, Carbonneau transitioned to coaching, leading the Canadiens for nearly three seasons from 2006 to 2009. His record was 124 wins, 83 losses, and 23 overtime losses in 230 games, good enough for a 0.583 points percentage, including a 104-point season in 2007-08, the first 100+ point season since the team won the Stanley Cup in 1992-93.
For the 2004-05 season, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League unveiled a Trophy in Carbonneau’s name for the best defensive forward in the junior league. Winners include former Canadiens Olivier Fortier (2008) and Phillip Danault (2011), as well as fellow Saguenéens alumni Nicolas Roy (2017) who won the Calder Cup this past season with the Charlotte Checkers.