December 03, 2014

Montreal Canadiens Jean Beliveau dead at 83: Montreal Canadiens have reported that Hockey Hall-of-Fame member and Montreal legend Jean Beliveau has passed away at age 83. Beliveau played 20 seasons for Canadiens, winning 10 Stanley Cup Championships, 5 of them coming when Beliveau wore the captain's C. He also served as a member of the team's management, earning 7 more cups along the way.

posted by Howard_T to hockey at 12:26 AM - 2 comments

As all of the Canadian news/sports stations are reporting, Beliveau was the definition of "class". The fact that he turned down the prestigious Governor General position so he could spend more time with his (now fatherless) grandchildren is just an example of his character.

In terms of talent, he isn't in the inner ring of hockey hall of famers (Gretzky, Howe, Orr, (Maurice) Richard, Lemieux), but he's definitely in the next ring (Beliveau, (Bobby) Hull, Sawchuk, Harvey, Messier, Plante).

In terms of respect from fans, opponents, and teammates, he might be the head of the class.

posted by grum@work at 08:58 AM on December 03, 2014

One of the benefits to being "old" is having had the privilege of watching some of the legends of various sports. I saw Bill Russell's first game in Boston and watched Ted Williams' incredible ability at bat, and I am now watching another generation of those who will someday be called "legend". I saw Jean Beliveau play once. It was enough to realize how wide was the gap between some pretty good Bruins teams of the early- and mid-1950s and the Montreal Canadiens of that era. The Richards, Geoffrion, Bert Olmstead, Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, and Jacques Plante were on the ice, but the presence of Jean Beliveau lent an air of the "invincibility of royalty". Beliveau's effect on the team was such that they behaved as one would expect the best to behave. That is, they played hard but fairly, did not back down, and always played well. Giants such as Beliveau do not appear often. He will be long remembered.

posted by Howard_T at 03:59 PM on December 03, 2014

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