He turned pro in 1959-60 with the Trois-Rivieres Lions of the Eastern Professional Hockey League, scoring 27 goals and 49 points in 70 games as a center.
The following season of 1960-61, Rochefort played with the Kitchener-Waterloo Beavers, also of the EPHL. That season he had 20 goals and 38 points in 65 games while also making his NHL debut with the Rangers, playing in a lone game.
Rochefort, born on this date in 1939, spent the entire 1961-62 season with the Beavers and saw his scoring output increase with 33 goals and 60 points in 69 games.
He made strides toward becoming a full time NHL player in 1962-63 by playing in 23 games with the Rangers, scoring his first 5 NHL goals and 9 points. The remainder of his season saw him play in 50 games with the Baltimore Clippers of the American Hockey League with 14 goals and 34 assists.
Before the 1963-64 season, the Rangers made a seven player trade that sent Rochefort, Dave Balon, Len Ronson and Gump Worsley to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Phil Goyette, Don Marshall and Jacques Plante. Montreal was looking to revive their fortunes, as they had been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round three years running after having won five straight Stanley Cups from 1956-60.
Unfortunately for Rochefort, the Canadiens lineup was loaded from the start, and Rochefort spent the vast majority of the next three seasons playing for the Quebec Aces of the AHL, highlighted by averaging a point per game in 1965-66 with 35 goals and 72 points in 71 games played.
During that three year span from 1963-64 to 1965-66, Rochefort played in 13 regular season games for Montreal, but during the 1966 Stanley Cup playoffs, he saw action in four of the Canadiens ten playoff games, scoring a goal and an assist as Montreal would go on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in four straight and the Detroit Red Wings in six to win the championship, earning Rochefort his name on the Stanley Cup.
Rochefort was limited by injuries during the 1966-67 season, and finished with 8 games for the Aces in the AHL and 27 with Montreal, where he scored 9 goals and 16 points. He also participated in ten playoff games with the Canadiens with a goal and an assist.
The NHL expanded dramatically for the 1967-68 season, doubling in size from six teams to now 12. The expansion gave Rochefort's career a fresh start, as he was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1967 Expansion Draft and led the first year club in goals in 27 in 74 games played as he finished third on the team with 42 points.
He returned to the Flyers for the 1968-69 season, with 65 games played and 35 points. After the conclusion of the season, Rochefort was traded by Philadelphia to his original club, the Rangers, on June 6th, only to have the Rangers deal Rochefort to the Los Angeles Kings three days later.
In 76 games for the Kings, he scored 9 goals and 32 points. Once more, Rochefort was traded during the offseason, as Los Angeles sent him back to the Canadiens in three for three trade. The situation in Montreal was not very different than before, as Rochefort played ten games in the minor leagues for the Montreal Voyageurs before 57 regular season games back in the NHL with the Canadiens in a checking role, which saw his previous point production drop by half to 15 points. He did see action in 10 playoff games as Montreal would win the second Stanley Cup of Rochefort's career.
For the 1971-72 season, Rochefort found himself on the roster of the Red Wings after being traded a week after the Canadiens Stanley Cup victory. He would score 17 goals with Detroit in 64 games on his way to 29 points.
In 1972-73, he would play 20 games for Detroit only to be traded yet again, this time to the upstart Atlanta Flames. In 54 games with Atlanta, the veteran Rochefort would score 9 goals and 27 points.
He would play a second season with the Flames with similar results, this time 10 goals and 22 points.
He played well in Vancouver, scoring 18 goals and 29 points, his highest total in five years.
Rochefort had one final season of hockey to play, which saw him in 11 games for the Canucks before playing in 60 games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League, where he proved he could still play, scoring 25 goals and 40 assists for 65 points, putting up similar numbers to what he had done a decade earlier for the Aces.
His final NHL totals were 617 games played with 121 goals and 147 assists for 268 points and a pair of Stanley Cups with Montreal.
Today's featured jersey is a 1969-70 Los Angeles Kings Leon Rochefort jersey as worn during Rochefort's only season in Los Angeles.
The Kings first took to the ice in 1967-68 wearing this style jersey with one color numbers. After two seasons of play, they added a white outline to the crest and the numbers. Names arrived the next season on the home gold jerseys and the purple stripe moved to the bottom of the jerseys in 1971-72. Names came to the back of the purple road jerseys in 1977-78 and the jerseys remained in use through the 1979-80 season.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1973-74 Atlanta Flames Leon Rochefort jersey worn during his two year stint in Atlanta.
The Flames were founded in 1972-73 in response to the arrival of the new World Hockey Association. The striping on the jerseys was changed slightly from the original three stripe pattern to a five stripe "Northwestern" pattern for the remainder of their time in Atlanta through the 1979-80 season, with the only other change being the addition of names on the back in 1977-78.
Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1974-75 Vancouver Canucks Leon Rochefort jersey worn during Rochefort's final stop on his hockey tour of North America, which took him from New York to Montreal to Philadelphia across the country to Los Angeles and back to Montreal to Detroit to Atlanta back across the continent to Vancouver.
The original Canucks jerseys had sizeable white V's inside the arm stripes. Two seasons later, the striping patterns were changed on the arms and waist. Vancouver's jerseys would remain the same through the 1977-78 jersey until the docile green and blue jerseys were replaced by their savage black, gold and orange Flying V style.