Hockey super legend Jean Béliveau has passed away. The former Canadiens’ centre, affectionately known as Le Gros Bill, was a 10-time Stanley Cup winner and a Hockey Hall of Fame honoured member.
Béliveau won the Stanley Cup 10 times, including five straight years from 1956 to 1960. He won additional playoff titles in 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969 and 1971. The first winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1965, he was later retroactively selected as the 1956 playoff MVP by the Society of International Hockey Research.
Béliveau twice led the NHL in goal scoring (1955-56 and 1958-59) and twice led the NHL in assists (1960-61 and 1965-66). He won the Hart Trophy as the regular-season MVP in 1955-56 and 1963-64.
Wrote author Hugh Hood in 1970, “it seems clear that if Gordie Howe is not the greatest hockey player who ever lived, then the next name that comes up is Jean’s.”
Béliveau became an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 following his retirement as a player. He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971, then promoted to a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998.
Born on 31 August 1931 in Trois-Rivières, he was 83 years old when he passed away on 2 December 2014.
Wrote the Right Honourable David Johnston, Canada’s Governor-General, “Canada has lost a great champion with the passing of Jean Béliveau. He was graceful and powerful, both on and off the ice. He set new standards of excellence in how we play hockey and set compelling standards of civility in how we conduct ourselves with one another.”