Mario Lemieux (born October 5, 1965) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and current owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins….who played parts of 17 National Hockey League seasons with the Penquins from 1984 to 2006….while assuming ownership in 1999. Dubbed The Magnificent One or Le Magnifique….as well as Super Mario….he is widely acknowledged to have been one of the best players of all time…..who was a gifted playmaker and fast skater despite his large size….as Le Magnifique often beat defensemen with fakes and dekes.
The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Lemieux immediately after his first retirement in 1997….while waiving the normal three-year waiting period….and upon his return in 2000, he became the third Hall of Famer…. after Gordie Howe and Guy Lafleur….to play after being inducted. Lemieux’s impact on the NHL has been significant….as Andrew Conte of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review called him the savior of the Pittsburgh Penguins….and after Lemieux’s retirement, Wayne Gretzky commented that “You don’t replace players like Mario Lemieux….The game will miss him.” ….while Bobby Orr called him “the most talented player I’ve ever seen.” ….whereas Orr, along with Bryan Trottier and numerous fans…. speculated that if Lemieux had not suffered so many issues with his health….his on-ice achievements would have been much greater. In 2017, he was named one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players”.