Maurice RICHARD 1921-2000

2000 Social Social

Mr. Maurice Richard was born in Montréal, on August 4, 1921. He grew up in Bordeaux, a neighbourhood in north-end Montréal known for its passion for hockey. Maurice Richard is the oldest of a family of eight children. His father, Onésime, a diehard hockey-lover, encouraged his son to play the sport and offered him, at the age of four, his very first pair of skates.

Like the other boys in his neighbourhood, young Maurice honed his skills playing in neighbourhood backstreets and exterior ice rinks. A hockey fanatic, Maurice Richard spent most of his free time practising his favorite sport; he was even known to eat meals with his skates on, the better to cut down on time away from the ice.

At the age of 18, Richard was already known for his remarkable talent at hockey in general and scoring goals in particular. During the 1938-1939 season he was responsible for 133 of the 144 points earned by his junior team, the Parc Lafontaine “Paquette”. His prowess attracted the attention of a number of scouts and in 1940, he was offered a position with the Canadian Senior Club in the Quebec Senior Hockey League. Two years later, Maurice Richard’s fondest dream came true as he joined the Canadian’s team in the National Hockey League.

His natural talent as a goal-scorer, his feisty temperament, his speed – which resulted in the “Rocket” nickname – and his determination earned him the respect of teammates and opponents alike, as well as the admiration of countless fans in Quebec and across Canada.

When he retired in 1960, Maurice Richard was considered to be a national hero. He received a number of marks of recognition, but in his view the most touching was his admission to the Hockey Hall of Fame, barely one year after leaving the sports world.

Maurice Richard is undoubtedly one of the greatest hockey players of all times. Several books have been published about him, notably Un bon exemple de tenacité : Maurice Richard, part of a 24-volume series entitled Les belles histories vraies and published by Les Éditions Grolier Ltée.
Mr. Maurice Richard has been an Officer of the Order of Canada since 1967 and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec since 1985.