Joseph Jean Arthur (Le Gros Bill) Béliveau
Born: August 31, 1931 (Trois-Rivières, Québec)
Died: December 2, 2014 (Montréal)
Hockey Hall of Fame (1972)
Le Pantheon des sports du Québec (1992)
L’Ordre nationale du Québec (1988)
Order of Canada (1998)
Jean Béliveau had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup 10 times as a player with the Montreal Canadiens and another seven as an executive with the team. He scored 507 goals in 18 NHL seasons. He won the Art Ross Trophy as scoring leader, the Hart Trophy as most valuable player twice, and was awarded the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
He served as captain of the Canadiens for 10 years, the bridge between Maurice (Rocket) Richard and Guy Lafleur in the pantheon of the team’s hockey greats. The team’s fans worshipped him as the patriarch of the holy trinity.
While the Rocket was all passion, the fiery worker always at war with the maudit boss, Béliveau was the cool, handsome, stylish face of the corporation, a man whose bilingual grace on and off the ice would earn him a spot in the boardroom with both the Canadiens and Molson Brewery. Béliveau was offered the position of governor general by prime minister Jean Chrétien, but turned down the role so as to support his daughter and two granddaughters, who had been left bereft by the suicide of his son-in-law, a police officer. Beside, Béliveau, born to a working class family of eight children, did not need the trappings of a vice-regal office to be heralded as royalty. He commanded every room he entered and he knew it, yet never lorded his status over others. Humble. Elegant. Dignified. Handsome, too, with that Superman forelock curling over his brow.