Tremblay played with the Montreal Canadiens for his entire NHL playing career (1974 to 1986), and was also the coach of the club from 1995 until his resignation in 1997, winning five Stanley Cup Championships with the team as a player in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986. Although his playing days have been overshadowed by his controversial coaching career, it is to be noted that Mario is 10th on the Montreal Canadiens all time list for plus-minus at 184.
Tremblay was hired four games into the 1995–96 season as head coach of the Canadiens although he had no previous coaching experience. As coach, he developed a long running dispute with star goaltender Patrick Roy, which eventually led to Roy's departure from Montreal. The two had almost come to blows in a Long Island coffee shop before Tremblay was announced as a coach and his first appearance in the dressing room was greeted with snickers from Roy. They almost fought a second time after Tremblay fired a shot at Roy's throat during practice, by which point it was only a matter of time before the hot-tempered Tremblay and his star goalie reached the point of no return.
Tremblay kept Patrick Roy in net during a December 2, 1995, game versus the Detroit Red Wings, in which the Wings scored 9 goals on Roy, who was jeered by the Montreal fans. Roy stormed off the ice and told team president Ronald Corey that it was the last game he would play for the Canadiens. Four days later, Roy was traded to Colorado with captain Mike Keane for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. Roy went on to lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup twice before retiring.
Nearly a year later, Tremblay also had a heated verbal exchange with Canadiens enforcer Donald Brashear during a team practice prior to a game against the Avalanche in Denver. Brashear was later traded to the Vancouver Canucks.
As a head coach for Montreal, Tremblay coached 159 games, with 71 wins, 63 losses and 25 ties across two years with the team. Prior to his 2009–10 hiring as assistant-coach of the New Jersey Devils, Tremblay served as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Wild. In both jobs, he was an assistant coach to Jacques Lemaire. After Lemaire retired in 2010, Tremblay was not retained as assistant coach. He then joined the Quebec sport network RDS as a hockey analyst for the Montreal Canadiens games.
- Mario Tremblay's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
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