Jean Beliveau: 1931-2014
A bad November for hockey deaths has now turned into a bad start for December.
Old No. 4 for the Canadiens, Jean Beliveau, has died. He was 83.
Maurice “Rocket” Richard may have been the most explosive and dynamic Canadien of all-time (reflected in his nickname), but Beliveau was the most graceful. He was Montreal’s Alex Delvecchio—a smooth-as-silk centerman who didn’t do anything flashy; he just did it right.
Hockey lost a true giant.
It was fitting and proper that Beliveau’s last game played in 1971 ended with him as a Stanley Cup Champion yet again. His name is on the Cup 10 times as a player and seven more times as a Canadiens executive.
Here’s NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s statement on Beliveau’s passing.
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF JEAN BÉLIVEAU
NEW YORK (Dec. 3, 2014) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of the legendary Jean Béliveau:
“No record book can capture, no image can depict, no statue can convey the grandeur of the remarkable Jean Béliveau, whose elegance and skill on the ice earned the admiration of the hockey world while his humility and humanity away from the rink earned the love of fans everywhere.
“Mr. Béliveau was a formidable presence and his departure leaves an immeasurable void. As we grieve that he has left us, we cherish what he gave us: A sport elevated forever by his character, his dignity and his class.
“For all the accomplishments he achieved and all the accolades he received, Jean Béliveau was always the epitome of the boy whose only dream was to play for the Montreal Canadiens. Hockey is better because that dream was realized. The National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Mr. Béliveau’s wife, Élise, and Mr. Béliveau’s family, to his countless friends around the hockey world, and to his beloved Canadiens, who he always represented with such distinction and grace.”