Jean Béliveau, NHL legend, remembered as true gentleman

Fans, players and hockey pundits take to social media to extend their condolences, and honour a man that everyone fondly remembers as a genuine hockey gentleman — Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau.

PM, hockey world and Quebec mourn the passing of Montreal Canadiens legend

Jean Chrétien talks about his friend

9 years ago
Duration 4:30
Interview with the ex-PM. Chrétien offered Jean Béliveau the Governor General spot and was turned down

Canadians are mourning the passing of a legend, as former Montreal Canadiens captain Jean Béliveau died at age 83 on Tuesday. 

Béliveau was loved by hockey fans for his 10 Stanley Cups as a player with the Canadiens, but also by those outside the arena for his service to Canada.

"He was the perfect gentleman," said former prime minister Jean Chrétien, who offered Béliveau the office of Governor General in 1994. 

Béliveau rejected it for family reasons, but Chretien always held the Habs great in high regard.

"Aline and I had him [over] for dinner when we discussed the possibility and we were like fans waiting for a star to come to the residence."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a hockey historian himself, issued a statement and offered his condolences. 

“Mr. Béliveau will be remembered as a hockey giant who inspired a nation with his outstanding skill, humility and pure love of the game," Harper said.

"His legacy lives on in the records he set, the legions of hockey players that he inspired, and the deep love he shared with his home province of Quebec.”

The Canadiens will have tributes to Béliveau over the next week and team owner Geoff Molson said the iconic figure will always be remembered.

"We're going to give all of our fans an opportunity to celebrate such a great man," Molson said.

Many people took to social media to react to Béliveau's passing.

One of the finest centres who ever played, Béliveau helped lead the Canadiens to an unprecedented five straight Stanley Cups during the 1950s and 1960s over his 20-year career.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre summed up the feeling surrounding the passing of the Canadiens legend when he announced that the hockey world and the entire country would be mourning this great loss.

Flags will be lowered to honour Béliveau. 

Record books can't do Béliveau justice, said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. 

"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," Bettman said in a statement. 

The NHL put together a video tribute in the wake of the news. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called him a 'true legend.'

Former and current Montreal Canadiens players were quick to respond with condolences, and mentioned what a role model No. 4 always was within the organization. 

Players around the league were praising the legend too.

Canadian athletes outside of the NHL also had fond memories of the 10-time Stanley Cup winner. 

The NDP leader, who represents Outremount, was the first of the federal leaders to pay tribute