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Canadiens Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe diagnosed with oral cancer

Canadiens Hall of Fame defenceman poses for photo on June 19, 2014 after announcement that his No. 5 would be retired by the team.
Canadiens Hall of Fame defenceman poses for photo on June 19, 2014 after announcement that his No. 5 would be retired by the team.

The Canadiens, at the request of Guy Lapointe and his family, announced Wednesday that the Hall of Fame defenceman has been diagnosed with oral cancer.

“Dr. Keith Richardson, the treating physician from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), indicated that the cancer is located at the base of the tongue,” the Canadiens announced in a statement. “Lapointe will begin his treatments in the coming weeks. This form of cancer has a high cure rate.

“The family wishes to thank the personnel at the MUHC as well as all hockey fans and asks for respect of their privacy as they face this challenge.”

Lapointe won six Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and was part of their Big Three on defence, along with fellow Hall of Famers Serge Savard and Larry Robinson. The Canadiens retired Lapointe’s No. 5 during an emotional ceremony at the Bell Centre in 2014.

“The emotions are impossible (to describe),” Lapointe said that night, adding he was sorry only that his late parents couldn’t have been there to share the moment.

“My dad would have been proud to see it,” Lapointe said, his father having convinced his son to attend a mid-1960s Canadiens training camp just to give his hockey dream a shot.

“Hopefully, there’s something up there and he was able to see it and I saw he had a big smile, (saying) ‘Geez, I’m glad you listened to me just once that day.’ ”

Lapointe, 71, has been the Minnesota Wild’s director of amateur scouting since 1999.

On Dec. 1, the Canadiens announced that Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur, 68 had surgery to remove a lobe on one of his lungs as well as to remove ganglions.

“Guy Lafleur underwent surgery at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) on November 28,” the Canadiens said in a statement. “The operation was successful. Guy Lafleur will remain under observation at the hospital and is expected to return home in the coming days to continue his recovery.”

Lafleur, who won five Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, also had quadruple-bypass surgery on Sept. 26.

scowan@postmedia.com

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