Dec 9, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Elise Beliveau waves to the crowd during the ceremony honoring her husband former Montreal Canadiens playerJean Beliveau
and her daughter (second from left) and her 2 grand-daughters (third and fourth from left) before the game against Vancouver Canucks at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
1. Honouring Jean Beliveau
I believe Ken Dryden summed it up best. “This is not a time to say goodbye. This is a time to say thank you.”
While chatting with a friend about the passing of Monsieur Beliveau, he remarked that he ‘did not realize how much Beliveau meant to the city.’ Truth be told, neither did I. I knew he was special, but I was surprised with the outpouring of emotions following his death. Radio stations, who usually function off of the rule ‘It bleeds, It leads’, dedicated hour upon hour of callers phoning in to share their stories about the generosity of the great man. Even TSN pushed the highlights of the Toronto Maple Leafs game back a couple of minutes so they could report his passing and express their condolences.
I’m not sure those below the age of 30 could fully grasp exactly how special Monsieur Beliveau was to Montreal and the Canadiens. It makes you step back and admire just how lucky we are to have some of the greats from eras past still around – Johnny Bower, Gordie Howe, and Henri Richard to name a few. I really hope we can recognize their contributions to hockey and to society while they are still with us.
Like Graham said, it was hard for me to grasp the importance of Jean Beliveau until I heard all the stories. I never thought of Beliveau as an icon like Maurice Richard but I was wrong. Beliveau was respected by everyone and everyone had a story.
The outpouring of stories and support for the Beliveau family was incredible and definitely the most memorable moment of the year.