Sport: Hockey: Year Inducted: 1998
Mario Vien, arguably the finest goaltender to come out of the Cornwall Minor Hockey Association, became a goaltender by accident. Actually, it was by injury…an injury to his team’s goaltender.
Until then, Vien was a smooth-skating, high-scoring centre with a CMHA travelling team. He once scored 10 goals in a single game, and had 101 goals over a 25-game season. But when his team’s goalie was injured, the 14-year-old Vien volunteered to take over. He took to goaltending like a duck to water. He played nets for the rest of his career.
In 1972, Vien, who had practiced with the Royals while backstopping the CMHA midget travelling team, was taken in the Ontario Hockey League draft by the Ottawa 67’s. He chose to play for his hometown Royals of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Royals had just won their first Memorial Cup.
Vien had been used as a backup to Richard Brodeur in the Memorial Cup tournament, and had his name engraved on the historic trophy.
The Lachine, Quebec native who moved to Cornwall in 1960 at age five, became one of the premier goaltenders in the Quebec league. In 1973-74, he was named to the QMJHL All-Star team. The following year, he was named to the first All-Star team and as the league’s Most Valuable Player. In his third and final year, he was chosen the Royals’ “Player of the Year”.
During the 1974-75 season, Vien played 71 of the Royals’ 72 regular season games. In the playoffs, the Royals made the finals, only to lose in the seventh and deciding game.
Vien was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL entry draft and by the Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association. He signed with the Toros and fulfilled a dream by playing with the likes of Frank Mahovolich, Paul Henderson, and Les Binkley.
In his first pro game, Vien chalked up a victory as the Toros defeated Gordie Howe’s Houston Aeros 6-3. He was chosen second star of the game. Howe was first star.
Vien then became employed by Domtar, and started to give back to hockey as goaltender coach for the Cornwall Colts of the Central Junior Hockey League.