Stephan Lebeau began his career with the Montreal Canadiens, a dream come true for any Quebecker. Not big, but fleet of foot, Lebeau was a scorer at every level he played. In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, for instance, he finished his career in Shawinigan, scoring ninety-four goals and a like number of assists in only sixty-seven games. In his first three full seasons with the Canadiens, he had goal totals of twenty-two, twenty-seven, and thirty-one in 1992-93, the year the Habs last won the Stanley Cup.
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Despite showing signs of becoming a superstar, Lebeau tailed off badly, was traded, and soon found himself on the outside of the NHL looking in. He made his way to Europe and played another six years in Switzerland.
Wherever he went, Lebeau had a particular game-day series of activities, some that might fall under the rubric of preparation, others without question superstitions. He woke up at 8:30 a.m. to have a breakfast of oatmeal, two slices of bread, orange juice, and a glass of milk. After the morning skate, he’d come home, have a hamburger, watch television, and sleep for an hour and a half. Four hours before the game, he’d have a plate of spaghetti for carbs, and two and a half hours before the game he’d arrive at the arena. He chewed twenty to twenty-five pieces of gum, taped his sticks, and then went to the sauna for just a few minutes. Then he’d dress and be ready to play.