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Maurice Richard: Admired in life, revered in death

Maurice Richard wasn't an outstanding stickhandler. And he wasn't the finest skater the NHL has produced. But he became one of the best players in history through sheer force of will. Driven by desire so fierce his glare unhinged rival goaltenders, the Montreal Canadiens star set numerous records. "The Rocket" became a cultural icon among Quebecers, who so revered Richard that they started a riot when "Saint Maurice" was suspended from the league.

On May 27, 2000, legendary hockey player Maurice (Rocket) Richard succumbs to cancer at age 78, in Montreal. Fast and fierce on the ice, Richard set extraordinary records and led the Montreal Canadiens to Stanley Cup wins. For a generation of Canadians, Richard becomes a beloved cultural icon as shown in this CBC Television report.
• Joseph-Henri-Maurice Richard was born on Aug. 4, 1921, the eldest of eight children. He grew up in the working-class Bordeaux section of Montreal near Ville Saint-Laurent during the Great Depression.
• Richard signed with the Montreal Senior Canadiens farm team for the 1940-41 season, and in September 1942 he joined the main Montreal Canadiens team.

• Richard enjoyed an illustrious career with the Canadiens, becoming the first NHL player to net 50 goals in 50 games and the first to score more than 500 career goals. He also played on eight Stanley Cup teams.
• On Sept. 17, 1942, Maurice Richard married Lucille Norchet. They would have seven children.

• The day before Richard's funeral, his body lay in state at the Molson Centre. An estimated 115,000 mourners viewed the casket and signed a book of remembrance for Richard.
• Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard recalled of Richard, "When we see him go today, we recall our youth, our childhood. He was the man of our childhood, for people of my generation. It's a bit of our childhood that disappears."

Medium: Television
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: May 28, 2000
Guest(s): Camille Bouvier, Dickie Moore, Maurice Richard, Jr.
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Lynne Robson
Duration: 3:22
Hockey footage courtesy of the National Hockey League

Last updated: May 28, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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