By Al Foster
If you’re a young man or woman, you could be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Chuck Lefley. When it comes to Manitobans who have made it in the National Hockey League, Lefley’s name takes a back seat to the likes of Bathgate, Leach, Goring and Toews.
However the Winnipeg-born Lefley who became one of Manitoba’s greatest athletes while growing up in the Interlake, is arguably one of the more successful Manitobans to ever play at the NHL level. After all, he won two Stanley Cups with the powerhouse Montreal Canadiens of the early 1970s.
Now he is starting to receive some well deserved recognition. Late last year, it was announced that Chuck Lefley, 64, will be inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as part of its Interlake region group of honprees. The ceremony is set to take place in May.
After he retired from the NHL in 1980 he went on to become a long time minor hockey coach in Warren along with being a member of the Interlake Golf Club and the Warren Curling Club. He and his brother Brian – a recent inductee into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame — were also exceptional ball players.
However, it’s Lefley’s 10-year professional hockey career that has led to his induction into the Hall. He played his junior hockey with the Winnipeg Rangers of the MJHL from 1964-66 and then the 6-foot-2, 180-pound leftwing/center spent a few years with the Canadian National Team program in Winnipeg. While playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Canada Hockey League, he was selected in the first round (6th overall) of the NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
Following the draft he was sent to the Montreal Voyageurs which was the Habs’ American Hockey League affiliate. He got the call up to the big club in 1971.
He played a total of 407 NHL games recording 128 goals and 292 points. He won two Stanley Cups with the Habs in 1971 and 1973 and was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.