Throughout his career, hockey player Mario Lemieux has been known as one of the greats. Though he’s been retired for several years, he’s still a frequent feature of any list of the best hockey players of all time. I mean, the man has nicknames celebrating his skill, including Super Mario and Mario Le Magnifique. Whatever your opinion on the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that was his home for his entire time in the NHL – and afterwards – it can’t be denied that he’s a skilled player. What, exactly made him so special? Well, despite his fairly large size (6’4 and about 200 pounds) he was always quick on the ice and was famous for fakes and dekes around defencemen. He’s had a stellar career despite often missing huge chunks of the season for illnesses and injuries that would have completely derailed the average player. Basically, Lemieux just has that little something extra, that quality that puts him up there with the greats like Wayne Gretzky.
But who is the man behind the legend? Sure, we know the on-ice Mario, but Lemieux has always been a fairly private guy. Unlike some of the modern NHL stars who are tabloid staples (ahem, Patrick Kane), he’s managed to fly under the radar when it comes to his personal life. There’s not much to gossip about when it comes to Lemieux, so journalists haven’t exactly spent hours digging up all the dirt from his past. However, who wouldn’t want to know more about one of the best players the NHL has seen? We all want to know what makes him tick, and what future NHL players can emulate in an attempt to achieve even a fraction of the success that Lemieux had. You may have dug up a few factoids if you’re a die-hard Mario Lemieux fan, but if you’re just a regular hockey lover, here are 15 things you may not have known about Mario Lemieux.
15 He Became One of the First Players in Pro Sports to Own the Team he Played For
14 He Skated in the Hallways of his Home
13 He is the Youngest of Three Boys
12 His Father was a Construction Worker
11 English isn’t his First Language
10 He Used to be a Heavy Smoker
9 He Met his Wife at a Wedding
8 In 2007, he was a Registered Republican
7 He was an NHL Superstar from his Very First Shift
6 He Battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
5 He was Roomies with Sidney Crosby
4 He’s a Committed Family Man
3 He Helped Save the Penguins
2 Talent on the Ice Runs in the Family
1 He Lives in Penguin Village
What is Penguin village, exactly? Well, while the Penguins may be the team of Pennsylvania metropolis Pittsburgh, Lemieux makes his home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a small village north of Pittsburgh. What makes Sewickley so special? Well, if you stop by a café in the village, you could run into Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or any number of NHL superstars. The town is ultra-protective of its famous residents and even refuses to post Google street views. It seems that the Penguins get enough adrenaline and bustle on the ice – when it comes to their home lives, they prefer the idyllic village surroundings to the busy city.
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