Rick Lapointe gave hope to a new generation of local players in 1975 when he became the first Victoria born and trained hockey player to make it to the National Hockey League in 37 years. He was one of a talented group of players who helped bring respectability to the Victoria Cougars juniors in 1974. At age 15 Lapointe attempted to crack the Cougars' lineup but it would take another season before he caught on with the club. In 1974 Lapointe and teammate Mel Bridgman were recognized for their efforts by being selected to Canada's World Junior Tournament team. Named Top Defenseman, he was later selected in the first round of the NHL draft. Picked fifth overall by the Detroit Red Wings, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound rookie defenseman fit in quickly doing yeoman service on the blue line and contributing offensively. His stint with the Red Wings lasted just two years before he went to the 1977 Conference-winning Philadelphia Flyers. Lapointe went on to play for St. Louis, Quebec and Los Angeles and by the 1985-86 season he had played 710 NHL games. He decided to retire to spend more time with his family in Victoria and though he left us far too early, at age 44, his legacy lives on.