May 02, 2015

Michel Parizeau

Michel Parizeau was a small but skilled playmaking center out of Drummondville. He led the Drummondville Rangers to the Memorial Cup tournament in 1968.

He turned pro the next season, playing for three seasons on the farm with the New York Rangers organization. He helped the Omaha Knights win back-to-back Adams Cup championships (CHL) in 1970 and 1971.

It was not until 1971-72 season that Parizeau debuted in the National Hockey League. He started the year with the St. Louis Blues (scoring 1 goal and 2 assists in 21 games) before finishing the year in Philadelphia (2 goals, 12 assists in 37 games).

It proved to be Parizeau's only NHL season. He jumped at a contract offer to head closer to home and play with the Quebec Nordiques of the upstart World Hockey Association. He was one of the very first NHL players to jump to the WHA.

He played four seasons with the Nords, and another 3 seasons playing with Indianapolis and Cincinnati. He would serve as team captain for Quebec from 1974 through 1976.

Parizeau retired from hockey in 1979, scoring 142 points and 252 assists for 394 points in 509 career WHA games. He is also the answer to an interesting trivia tidbit, as he took the first ever penalty in Quebec Nordiques WHA history just 2:02 into their inaugural game.

Parizeau became a promising coach after his playing days were done. He coached the AHL Syracuse Firebirds in 1979-80 season to an unsuccessful campaign. He then headed to Chicoutimi and back home to Drummondville to coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He even was named as an assistant coach at Canada's world junior championship team.

Parizeau was the center of controversy in the 1986 QMJHL playoffs thanks to a bizarre incident. Upset at a series of controversial calls by referee Mario Barabe that cost his team a playoff game, Parizeau stormed onto the ice to confront the official. His entire team followed suit, and the official was roughed up. The QMJHL immediately suspended Parizeau for one year, but that was appealed and later reduced to 6 games.

Parizeau coached one more year in Drummondville before taking a job in the community as an insurance broker. He remained in the Drummondville hockey scene mostly in an ambassador role.

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