|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1972|
Béliveau (right) with David Jacobson (left) in 2009
August 31, 1931 |
Trois-Rivières, QC, CAN
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)|
|Played for||Montreal Canadiens|
Joseph Jean Arthur "Le Gros Bill" Béliveau, CC GOQ (born August 31, 1931) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player who played parts of 20 seasons with the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens. As a player, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times, and as an executive he was part of another seven championship teams, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
Jean Béliveau was born in 1931 to Arthur and Laurette Béliveau, the oldest of eight children. Béliveau can trace his ancestry to Antoine Béliveau, who settled in 1642 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The Béliveaus were expelled along with the Acadians in 1755 and the family settled in the Boston area before moving to Québec to the Trois Rivières area in the mid-19th century. Jean's father was also part of a large family, one of six brothers, many of whom moved to western Canada in the 1910s although numerous relatives remained in the Trois-Rivières area and St. Célestin. Jean's family moved to Victoriaville when Jean was six and Jean grew up in Victoriaville, attending L'École Saint-David, L'Académie Saint-Louis de Gonzague and Collège de Victoriaville schools.
Like many future hockey players of the era, the Béliveau family had a backyard ice rink on which the Béliveau children, their friends and neighbours played shinny. Until he was twelve years old, the family rink was where Jean learned to play hockey. His first organized team was in a house league at L'Académie, which played on the school's schoolyard rink. As part of a team of the school's 'all-stars', Jean played against other local teams. At age fifteen, Jean entered College and played for the school team and an intermediate team, the Victoriaville Panthers.
In the summertime as a child, Béliveau also played baseball, playing in local leagues in Victoriaville. Béliveau was a pitcher and sometimes an infielder. At age sixteen, Jean played for the senior league team in Val-d'Or, Quebec. Jean's family turned down an offer of a minor-league pro contract for Jean at age fifteen.
A star at an early age, he was spotted by Canadiens general manager Frank Selke at the age of 15. Selke tried to get him to sign a "C-form," the usual form by which NHL teams bound young players to them. Under the form's terms, Jean would have joined the Canadiens at a set date, and at an agreed-upon salary. However, Jean's father balked, and eventually Selke had to content himself with having Jean sign a "B-form," in which he agreed to play for Montreal should he ever decide to turn pro.
Béliveau became a star in Quebec's amateur leagues, and was called up twice for brief appearances by the Canadiens in 1950–51 and 1952–53. He led the Quebec Senior Hockey League in scoring in 1953. However, he did not appear to show much interest in playing professionally. Finally, Selke got an idea—if the QSHL were somehow turned into a professional league, Béliveau would be a professional as well, and under the terms of the B-form he would have to sign with the Habs. At Selke's suggestion, the Canadiens bought the QSHL and converted it from an amateur league to a minor pro league. This forced Béliveau to join the Canadiens for the 1953–54 NHL season (though the Habs owned the NHL rights to all of the league's players in any case).
Three years later, in 1956, Béliveau won both the Art Ross Memorial Trophy as the league's scoring champion and the Hart Memorial Trophy as its most valuable player. During his 18 full seasons in Montreal, he played on 10 Stanley Cup winning teams 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971. For his last 10 seasons, he was the team captain. He was nicknamed "Le gros Bill" after a mighty character from Québécois folklore or after the tall title character of a 1949 movie.
A powerful skater, he had a polished air of composed confidence that made him a natural leader both on and off the ice. Admired and respected by fans, teammates and his opponents, he was the first player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for his performance in the 1965 Stanley Cup playoffs. He is also the first and only captain to win the Conn Smythe and score the game-winning goal in the same night.
Béliveau retired at the end of the 1970–71 NHL season as his team's all-time leader in points, second all-time in goals and the NHL's all-time leading playoff scorer. He scored 507 goals and had 712 assists for 1,219 points in 1,125 NHL regular-season games plus 79 goals and 97 assists for 176 points in 162 playoff games. His jersey number (#4) was retired on October 9, 1971. In 1972, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is now the second all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history, behind Guy Lafleur. Only Henri Richard (1256 games) and Larry Robinson (1202 games) played more games for the Habs.
After his playing days were over, Béliveau remained with the Canadiens team as an executive and goodwill ambassador. Béliveau's name appears on the Stanley Cup a record seventeen times, including seven times as an executive for the Canadiens: 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1993.
Béliveau was never known as an activist during his playing days. However, he was one of several players who threatened to pull out of the Hall of Fame if disgraced ex-NHLPA executive director Alan Eagleson had been allowed to stay in after being convicted of fraud and embezzlement. He also supported the NHL's position during the 2004–05 NHL lockout, arguing that the players' demands would damage the sport and the league.
Béliveau met his future wife, Elise Couture, in 1950 in Quebec City. They were married on June 27, 1953 at St. Patrick's Church in Quebec City. They had one child together, daughter Hélène.
Upon retirement from playing, beside his activities with the Canadiens, Béliveau set up the charitable Jean Béliveau Foundation, established in 1971. In 1993, Béliveau transferred the foundation to the Society for Disabled Children. In 1994 Béliveau was offered the position of Governor General of Canada but declined in order to be with his daughter, Hélène, and two grandchildren, Mylene and Magalie. Their father, a Quebec policeman, committed suicide when the girls were five and three.
Since the 1990s, Béliveau has suffered from multiple health issues. He was first hospitalized for cardiac problems in 1996. In 2000, he was treated for a neck tumour. NHL.com reported on January 21, 2010 that Béliveau was admitted to Montréal General Hospital the previous evening with an apparent stroke that was not thought to be life threatening. Béliveau was hospitalized with a stroke again on February 28, 2012.
Béliveau has been given many awards including several honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, plus the Loyola Medal in 1995. He was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1988, promoted to Officer in 2006 and Grand Officer in 2010.
On May 6, 1998 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, his country's highest civilian award. In 2001, his name was added to Canada's Walk of Fame, the same year he was honoured with his portrait on a Canadian postage stamp. In August 2008, the Canadian Pacific Railway named a station in his honour. McGill University gave Béliveau an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2006. On June 29, 2009, he was named an honorary Team Canada member and honorary captain of Canada's 2010 Men's Olympic Hockey Team.
Hockey awards and accomplishments
- Played in 14 NHL All-Star Games
- NHL First All-Star Team (6)
- NHL Second All-Star Team (4)
- Longest-serving captain in Canadiens history (tied with Saku Koivu)
- Second all-time in Canadiens history in points and assists, third in goals and games played
- Art Ross Memorial Trophy (1956)
- Conn Smythe Trophy (1965)
- Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) (1956, 1964)
- NHL Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)
In 1998, he was ranked number 7 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Montreal Canadiens.|
- Captain (ice hockey)
- List of NHL players with 500 goals
- List of NHL players with 1000 points
- List of NHL players with 1000 games played
- List of NHL statistical leaders
- List of members of the Hockey Hall of Fame
- Béliveau, Jean; Goyens, Chrys; Turowetz, Allan (2005). My Life in Hockey. Vancouver, British Columbia: First Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1-55365-149-9.
- Beliveau, p. 26
- Beliveau, p. 28
- Beliveau, p. 25
- Beliveau, p. 31
- Beliveau, p. 32
- "Films Gros Bill (194)". canoe.ca.
- "NHL:Stanley Cup Fun Facts". NHL.com.
- Beliveau, p. 58
- "Jean Béliveau on To Tell The Truth". The Gazette. March 30, 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- MacGregor, Roy (2007). The Home Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey. Toronto: Penguin Canada. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-14-305336-1.
- Canadian Press (28 February 2012). "Jean Beliveau suffers stroke". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec citation".
- Office of the Governor General of Canada. Order of Canada citation. Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 24 May 2010
- "BÉLIVEAU NAMED HONOURARY TEAM CANADA MEMBER AND HONOURARY CAPTAIN OF CANADA’S 2010 GOLD MEDAL WINNING MEN’S OLYMPIC HOCKEY TEAM". Hockey Canada. June 29, 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Jean Béliveau's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Jean Béliveau's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Jean Béliveau, History by the Minute
|Montreal Canadiens captain
|Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
|Winner of the Hart Trophy
|Winner of the Hart Trophy
|Winner of the Art Ross Trophy