There have been a few Lemieux's to have played in the National Hockey League. Mario of course is the most famous, followed by Claude, who is not related to Mario. Claude's brother Jocelyn and the unrelated Real played a decent number of games in the league, while Richard, Jean, Jacques and Bob Lemieux had tastes of NHL action. Oh yeah, and Alain Lemieux. He's Mario's older brother!
Alain was drafted 96h overall by the St. Louis Blues in 1980. Despite the decent numbers in the minors, Lemieux's lack of natural strength and conditioning doulbed by his poor defensive play prevented him from a true chance at NHL employment.
Things changed when Mario came along. The whole hockey world was excited about Super Mario, and as a result Alain got a little more attention too, if only because he was his older brother. But that helped Alain get one more chance to make the Blues in 1984-85, Mario's rookie season.
Alain was invited back to St. Louis training camp. Lemieux had to battle Dave Barr for the 4th line center position. Because of Barr's hard-nosed style of play, he had the inside edge. With Bernie Federko, Doug Gilmour and Doug Wickenheiser on the top 3 pivot positions, Alain would have to learn to play gritty and defensively.
But the Blues were hoping that Mario's arrival in the NHL would push Alain to the heights his talent level indicated he could achieve.
"His brother is in the league now and he wants to keep up with him or do even better," said assistant coach Bob Plager.
"I think if I had pride, which I hope he has, I'd want to show my brother I can play in the NHL, too." said head coach Jacques Demers.
Alain made the team as Barr was moved to the right side. However after 19 games the team moved him on to Quebec in exchange for Luc Dufour. The move was good for Lemieux, who would return to his home province and get a chance to play a more offensive role. He responded well with 11 goals and 22 points in 30 contests. He added 3 goals and 6 points in 14 playoff games.
While that paled in comparison to rookie Mario's stats in Pittsburgh, it appeared Alain had finally made it to the NHL. That came to a crashing halt in 1985-86 when he showed up for training camp overweight and perhaps taking his position on the team for granted.
Alain was banished to the minor leagues. He received a late season call up where he appeared in 7 regular season games, but never recorded a point. He made up for that with a strong appearance in his only post season game that year, scoring 1 goal and 2 assists.
The Nordiques cut him loose that off season, and low and behold guess who picked him up? The Pittsburgh Penguins. He played the entire year in the minor leagues, posting his best professional numbers with 97 points in 72 games. He was a AHL second all star team center.
But the highlight of the year, or so he thought, came when he got called up to Pittsburgh and played one game with his brother. Only problem was Alain Lemieux was being called up to replace his brother for the game, as Super Mario was sidelined with a viral illness.
That game proved to be Alain's last in the NHL. He bounced around with 4 minor league teams over the next season and a half before landing in Finland. He returned to the North American minor leagues in 1990-91, but retired at the conclusion of the season.