The hockey world has lost another giant, as reports today confirmed that Montréal Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau has died at the age of 83.
Béliveau, who currently holds the all-time record for most Stanley Cups won, having been part of ten as a player and another seven as an executive, played an illustrious career with le bleu, blanc et rouge, with a playing career spanning 18 seasons, amassing two Hart Trophies as league MVP, one scoring title, and the first ever Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP in 1965. Béliveau was also a 14-time all star, served as team captain for a record ten seasons, and is currently second all-time in Canadiens history in points, quite a feat considering the illustrious names that have put on the Habs sweater.
Internationally, Béliveau never was able to play for Canada, due to eligibility rules imposed by the IIHF that disallowed professionals from playing in international competitions. Unfortunately for the hockey world, Béliveau retired in 1971, a year prior to having the chance to play at the 1972 Summit Series, a squad he would have been a virtual lock to be part of. However, Hockey Canada made good on honouring one of the great captains of history by naming Béliveau honourary captain of Canada’s 2010 Olympic Team, which would win Gold in Vancouver in thrilling fashion (and for which Béliveau would even receive a Gold medalist ring).
Our condolences go out to the Béliveau family, and hockey fans across the world, Canada, and particularly Montréal, sure to be reeling from the loss of “Le Gros Bill.”