The Washington Capitals have had a total of 14 captains in their 46-year history, with notable names such as Yvon Labre, Rod Langway, Dale Hunter, and Alex Ovechkin among them. While he may not have been as big a name as the aforementioned list, Guy Charron was one of the Capitals captains in the early years and one of their leading goal scorers during his tenure. In our latest Capitals Alumni Profile, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle takes a look back at the career of the Caps’ fourth captain. (You can check out all of our alumni profiles on our “History” page.)
Early Life and Career
Guy Joseph Jean Charron was born on January 24, 1949 in Verdun, Quebec. He started his junior hockey Career with the Verdun Junior Maple Leafs in the Quebec Junior hockey league, first playing four games for them in the Memorial Cup at the end of the 1966-67 season, and the. playing the entire 1967-68 season there, scoring 29 goals, recording 36 assists for 65 points. He played in 21 Memorial Cup playoff games for them, scoring 14 goals and recording 9 assists.
In 1968-69, Charron played with the Montreal Junior Canadiens and had a productive season for them, scoring 27 goals and recording 27 assists. He played in eight games in the Memorial Cup, scoring 7 goals and having 5 assists.
Professional Career Prior to the Capitals
Although not selected in the NHL draft, possibly due to his small size of 5’10” or the fact that the Canadiens had initial rights to many young players in Quebec, Charron signed a contract with his hometown Montreal Canadiens before the 1969-70 season. He appeared in five games with the Habs, but mainly played for their AHL farm team, the Montreal Voyageurs, where he scored 37 goals and had 45 assists in 65 games.
In 1970-71, Charron started the season with the Voyageurs and scored five goals and recorded 13 assists in 23 games before getting called up to the Canadiens where he had 2 goals and 2 assists in 15 games.
On January 13, 1971, Charron was traded to the Detroit Red Wings, along with Bill Collins and Mickey Redmond, in exchange for Frank Mahovlich. He finished the season by scoring eight goals with four assists for Detroit in 24 games. He had a total of 10 goals and six assists in his first NHL season.
For the next three seasons in Detroit, Charron improved each year, scoring nine goals with 16 assists in 1971-72, 18 goals and 18 assists in 1972-73, and 25 goals with 30 assists in 1973-74.
He missed some time during the 1971-72 season due to a facial bone fracture, which needed surgery. He only had one goal and 10 assists in the first 26 games of the 1974-75 season.
On December 14, 1974, Charron and Claude Houde were traded to the Kansas City Scouts, a first year expansion team, in exchange for Bart Crashley, Larry Giroux, and Ted Snell. He scored 13 goals and had 29 assists. His totals for the 1974-75 season were 14 goals and 39 assists. For the 1975-76 season, he scored 27 goals and had 44 assists for 71 points overall.
Just before the 1976-77 season, Charron signed a contract with the Washington Capitals, who had come into the NHL as an expansion team the same time as the Scouts. As compensation for signing Charron, the Caps sent Nelson Pyatt to the Scouts in return.
His statistics prior to joining the Caps were: two goals and two assists in 20 games for the Montreal Canadiens, 61 goals and 78 assist with the Detroit Red Wings, and 40 goals and 73 assists with the Kansas City Scouts.
Washington Capitals Career
When acquired by the Caps, Charron was considered to be a smallish (5’10”) center who was known for his defensive ability and his skill at taking faceoffs. But he became even more productive offensively after joining the Caps.
During the 1976-77 season, he scored 36 goals and had 46 assists for 82 points overall which, at the time, set team records in goals, assists, and total points. He was the team’s lone representative at the NHL All Star Game.
Charron had another fine season in 1977-78, scoring 38 goals and earning 35 assists for 73 points overall. Once again, he set a team record in goals.
During the 1978-79 season, Charron was named the Capitals’ captain, replacing Yvon Labre in that role as Labre’s playing time had decreased. He scored 28 goals and had 42 assists for 70 points overall.
But the 1979-80 season was not as good. He pulled a high thigh muscle on October 19, 1979 which snapped his consecutive games played streak at 245. He had played in all 80 games for the Caps during his first three seasons for them, but the thigh injury and various other leg injuries reduced his availability and productivity.
During the 1979-80 season, he scored just 11 goals and had 20 assists in just 33 games. During the 1980-81 season, he played in 47 games, scoring just 5 goals and had 13 assists. The Caps chose not to re-sign him after that season and that was the end of his NHL playing career.
For the Caps, he played in 320 games, scored 118 goals and had 156 assists for 274 points overall. Charron currently ranks #23 in career goals, #33 in career assists, and #30 in career points for the Caps.
In his NHL career, he played in 734 games, scored 221 goals, recorded 309 assists, and had 530 points. During his 12-year career, he never once played in a playoff game as the Detroit Red Wings, Kansas City Scouts, and Washington Capitals were all bottom feeders during his tenure for each of them. His 734 games with no playoff appearance is an NHL record.
Charron not receive an NHL contract for the 1982-83 season, and therefor played two seasons in the Swiss League and also a handful of games in the AHL
With his playing career over, he became Head Coach for the Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL for the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons After that, he spent a few years coaching Canada in international competition, including Head Coach of their Under 20 World Junior team for 1989-90 that won the Gold Medal.
Charron coached the Calgary Flames, primarily as an Assistant Coach from 1990-91 through 1994-95, but served as Head Coach for the end of the 1991-92 season when Jim Risebrough was fired. He had many other coaching jobs after that, including Assistant Coach for the New York Islanders, Head Coach in a German League, Head Coach for the Grand Rapid Griffins, Assistant Coach for the Anaheim Ducks but elevated to Head Coach to finish a season, Assistant Coach for the Montreal Canadiens, Assistant Coach for the San Antonia Rampage, and Assistant Coach for the Florida Panthers.
Most recently, he was Head Coach of the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL for several years, starting midway in the 2010-11 season, before moving up to be Senior Advisor to Hockey Operations in 2013-14.
By Diane Doyle