Mario Lemieux is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. At the start of Lemieux's career, the Penguins were in financial turmoil and there were rumours of relocation. The team had declared bankruptcy after the 1974–75 season, and by 1983, they were averaging fewer than 7,000 fans per game—less than half of the Civic Arena's capacity.
He played parts of his 17 NHL seasons (his whole NHL career) with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1984 to 2006, assuming ownership in 1999. Lemiuex is widely acknowledged to have been one of the greatest players of all time. Drafted first overall by the Penguins in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux led Pittsburgh to consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. Under his ownership, the Penguins won additional titles in 2009, 2016, and 2017. He is the only man to have his name on the Cup as both a player and an owner. He also led Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002, a championship at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and a Canada Cup in 1987. He won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player voted by the players four times, the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP during the regular season three times, the Art Ross Trophy as the league's points leader six times, and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP in 1991 and 1992 (all records stand as of 2021). As of 2021, he is the only player to score one goal in each of the five possible situations in a single NHL game, a feat he accomplished in 1988.
At the time of his retirement, he was the NHL's seventh-highest career points scorer with 690 goals and 1,033 assists. As of 2021, he ranks second in NHL history with a 0.754 career goals-per-game average, only behind Mike Bossy (0.762). As of 2021, he is still Penguins executive.