In the history of the Flames franchise, 606 players have tugged a red sweater over their heads and suited up for a regular season game. Of those, 22 played just a single game for either the Calgary or Atlanta Flames. We call them One Game Wonders.
Let’s talk about another One Game Wonder, Rich Lemieux.
A junior star with the Montreal Junior Canadiens, Lemieux was a third round pick of the Vancouver Canucks back in 1971. (He was also drafted in 1972 by the Los Angeles Sharks of the World Hockey Association. This will matter later.)
Lemieux split the 1971-72 season between the Canucks and the AHL’s Rochester Americans before going full-time onto the Canucks roster for 1972-73 and 1973-74. He had 52 points in ’72-’73, but a disappointing ’73-’74 campaign was followed by him being claimed by the Kansas City Scouts in the expansion draft.
A month into the 1975-76 season, Lemieux joined the Atlanta Flames after being traded with a second round pick in exchange for Buster Harvey. Lemieux spent the majority of his season with the AHL’s Nova Scotia Voyageurs, playing on April 4, 1976 and registering an assist in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders.
Parallel to Lemieux’s NHL journey, his WHA rights bounced around a bit. Try to follow along, because this gets dumb. He was drafted by Los Angeles. The Los Angeles franchise moved to Michigan in 1974, then folded, then un-folded and moved to Balitmore in 1975, then folded for good. After spending most of the 1975-76 season in AHL purgatory – all due respect to the fine metropolis of Halifax – he decided to try his luck in the WHA, signing with the WHA’s Calgary Cowboys. (He was one of just four players to suit up with the Atlanta Flames and Calgary’s WHA team.) He was traded to the Minnesota Fighting Saints mid-way through the 1976-77 WHA season, but refused to report and stayed with the Cowboys. (The Fighting Saints folded before the season ended, so good call, Rich.)
Then the Cowboys folded prior to the next season when it became clear they wouldn’t be part of an anticipated WHA/NHL merger, and with few good pro options remaining, Lemieux hung up his skates.