Jean Béliveau died on Tuesday in Montreal. Yesterday, the NHL announced that he’ll lie in wake at the Bell Centre, Sunday and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. His funeral will be nearby, next Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, Rene-Levesque Blvd. where it corners with Mansfield.
In the meantime, as memories of the man continue to flood in along with tributes to his skill and leadership and grace, a few suggested readings, along with a smattering of opinions of the man collected from the last few days as well as deeper down in the archives.
1. “He’s tremendously strong, a beautiful skater, already a superb stick handler, strictly a team man with a perfect sense of playmaking. He has a wonderfully hard and accurate shot. He’d be a star on any hockey club. I wish he were on mine.”
• “The Marvels From Montreal” by Whitney Tower, Sports Illustrated, January 23, 1956. Read it here.
2. “He abhors violence, digs books, has adopted the flair-cuff, smokes a pipe — and more you didn’t know about Jean, the man.”
• “A Day in the Life of Jean Béliveau” by Ted Blackman and “Béliveau” by Marv Moss in The Montreal Gazette, March 24, 1971. (This way.)
3. “Béliveau won out by a slim margin over Bernie Geoffrion with Dickie Moore and Tom Johnson also in the running.”
• “Béliveau Elected Captain” in The Gazette, October 14, 1961. Here.
4. “It was a difficult decision to reach. Hockey has been my life since the day my father gave me a pair of skates when I was five years old.”
• “A Tearful Jean Ends His Career” by Pat Curran, The Gazette, June 10, 1971.
5. “The referendum? I have no comment to make on the referendum. You don’t know what kind of trouble a question like that can cause.”
• “Should Quebec Go? 12 Prominent Québécois Say How They’ll Vote in the Sovereignty Referendum” by Bee MacGuire in The Gazette, April 12, 1980
6. “He was the great Jean Béliveau, tall, handsome, graceful and gracious, with his warm dignity and friendly smile, yet there he was. He treated everyone with such respect. He said the right things, and in the right way — in French and in English — because that is what he believed, and that’s how he was. He made every occasion better. He made everyone who attended feel that their town, their organization, their province, their country, their event mattered. That they mattered. Appealing to their best selves, he reminded them of the best that was in them.”
• “An appreciation of Jean Béliveau” by Ken Dryden, Toronto Star, December 4, 2104