This Week in Pittsburgh History: Mario Lemieux Returns to the Ice After His First Retirement

After a more than three-year break, the superstar reassured fans within seconds that he had not lost any of his magic on the ice.


At the end of the 1997 season, Mario Lemieux retired from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Months later, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, becoming the ninth player in history to have the mandatory three-year waiting period waived. Having cemented his legacy as one of the sport’s greatest players, Lemieux couldn’t sit still. Two years after leaving the team as a player, he returned as the majority owner of the financially struggling team.

Twenty-one years ago this week, he completed his comeback by returning to the ice, scoring a goal and three points against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Civic Arena.

It took him just 33 seconds in the first period to score an assist. Watch⇓

Lemieux announced his second and permanent retirement from hockey on Jan. 24, 2006.

Learn more about the city’s past at The Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh Facebook page.

Categories: This Week in Pgh History