A hockey player from Jonquière, who played for Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals Denis Dupéré, died at the age of 70 on Sunday morning after suffering cancer. Considered to be one of the best professional hockey players in Saguenay history, Dupere returned to settle in the region in recent years at a seniors’ residence in Arvida.
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With a record of 80 goals for 179 points in 421 games in the National League between 1970 and 1978, Denis Dupere made his debut with the Maple Leafs in 1970 after making the beautiful days of the former Marquis de Jonquiere, from 1964 to 1966. The team was part of the Junior B regional league. He then began his career with the New York Rangers Club-School in 1966-67.
Sunday afternoon, the Maple Leafs celebrated the death of their former player via their official Twitter account.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Denis Dupere, former Leafs player. Denis played four seasons with the Leafs, from 1970 to 1974. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time, “reads. Toronto had acquired a deal with the New York Rangers in 1970, which had sent defenseman Tim Horton to the Big Apple.
Among the stars
In 1974, Denis Dupere had the best of his career when he was called to the NHL Entry Draft, which this year welcomed two new franchises, including the Washington Capitals. The team had the worst season in league history that year with a record of 8 wins, 67 losses and 5 draws, but Denis Dupéré scored history books with two goals in the first victory of the league. Caps at home. Finishing the year with 20 goals and 15 assists, he is chosen to represent his club at the NHL All-Star Game at the Montreal Forum. The right winger is one of the twelve strikers of the Wales conference and shares the ice with legends like Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Darryl Sittler or Phil Esposito.
He will then play three more seasons in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues, the late Kansas City Scouts and the Colorado Rockies.
A big shy
Denis Dupéré played three seasons for the Marquis de Jonquière. His father worked elsewhere at the Sports Palace, and the young Dupere, described as very reserved, roamed the halls of the arena when the team leaders, charmed by its large size, offered him to jump on the ice cream.
“He was a very shy and embarrassed guy. He was coming to the arena and he was walking on the bridge above. He avoided contact with the world. Given the frame he had, he was told to try to put on the skates, that he would make a good hockey player. That’s how it started, “says Charley Kearney, the Marquis’ handyman for several decades, in a telephone interview at The Daily.
In 2017, Le Quotidien had listed the top 10 NHL hockey players from the Saguenay, and Denis Dupéré was in 7th place behind Pierre Pilote, Jean-Claude Tremblay, Georges Vezina, Johnny Gagnon, Michel Bergeron and Germain Gagnon.