Thursday, December 11, 2014
Mon capitane, bon voyage...
Yvan Cournyer one of the long time leaders in his own right of Les Canadiens, provided the perfect salute to the most treasured of all Habs, bidding farewell to Jean Béliveau, his captain, Quebec's captain. A man widely respected across the nation as a man of class, a trait that few can live up to as did the long time icon of hockey in Montreal.
Wednesday, Quebec and Canada said farewell to Mr. Béliveau who passed away one week ago, his health had been failing in recent months, so perhaps announcement of his passing was not an unexpected development, though it was truly an unwanted news bulletin on a Tuesday evening.
With word of his passing, many turned to the remarkable Elise, Mr. Béliveau's partner in life, who has been the rock of which her immediate family and the extended hockey family have taken their cue from over the last seven days.
The funeral at Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral was befitting that of a Prime Minister or Cardinal, the impressive church filled with the famous and not so famous, more still gathered outside in one of those legendary Montreal blizzards, all paying their final salute to the Captain, who defined the sport in the sixties and represented the Canadiens for many years beyond his retirement.
When one reviews Wednesday's final act of mourning, we agree with Ken Dryden in his thoughts that his funeral service, wasn't so much a farewell, as it was a thank you to the long time hockey icon.
A day that provided a fitting closure to the reminiscing and remembrances of greatness, for a man who had an impact far beyond the ice of the Forum or the other rinks of the NHL.
Tuesday, his team, celebrated a life lived with an emotional pre game ceremony, the kind of event that few professional sports franchises could ever hope to pull off with just the right touch.
Only perhaps the New York Yankess understand the moment, the resonance of such events beyond the sport, as well as Les Canadiens, an organization that truly understood the importance of their longtime leader as a larger than life symbol for Quebec, Canada and hockey.
The Tuesday night salute, followed the days of mourning at the Bell Centre as long lines of Quebecois and no doubt a number from beyond the province, passed by the casket, offering their own short prayer or tribute to their Captain,
Again, it was the remarkable Madam Béliveau that set the tone of the remembrances, both through those endless lines of fans that came to the Bell Centre in tribute and again at the special ceremony as she and her family took their familiar seats at the Bell Centre, Jean Beliveau's seat marked by the iconic number 4 sweater draped in silent tribute.
Through this last week there have been many remembrances of his skill at Canada's winter game, as well as his larger than life presence in the lives that he touched both with the Canadiens and beyond the game itself.
It's hard to pick one or two over the other, all have offered us glimpses of a player that truly fits the title of Legend, Jean Béliveau was a man who resonated beyond the game of hockey, exuding class, grace, skill and a word used often this week that indeed defined him, elegance.
The emotional nature of these last few days, have provided a fine tribute and made for a collective salute to his life and times, a life that was celebrated on Wednesday.
Dec 10 -- Simple elegant funeral is a perfect farewell to Jean Béliveau
Dec 10 -- Fans, friends and family celebrate hockey star Jean Béliveau
Dec 10-- Thousands bid Habs legend a Final Farewell
Dec 10-- Canadiens, fans celebrate the life of Jean Béliveau at Bell Centre
Dec 10-- Jean Béliveau: Man for all seasons
Dec 10-- Jean Béliveau's funeral features touching farewells
Dec 10-- Not Goodbye, but thank you
Dec 10-- The great Jean Béliveau remembered by former Montreal Canadiens teammates during emotional funeral
Dec 10-- Jean Béliveau remembered as a "great man" at funeral in Montreal
Dec 9 -- The Jean Béliveau-Elise Couture love story
Dec 9-- Jean Béliveau's widow moved to tears in pre-game tribute to Canadiens legend
Dec 9-- Canadiens turn Jean Béliveau's seat into a shrine, as it should stay
Dec 8-- Jean Béliveau an icon to many, a mensch to all
Dec 7-- Thousands pay emotional last respects to Jean Béliveau
Dec 5-- "We lost a father," Guy Lapointe says of former Canadiens teammate Jean Béliveau
Dec 3-- Béliveau was "the most universally respected hockey player and man"
Dec 3-- Dick Irvin picks Jean Béliveau as greatest Canadiens player
Dec 3-- Jean Béliveau, NHL Legend, remembered as true gentleman
Dec 2-- Jean Béliveau, beloved Canadiens hockey legend, dead at 83
And there have been some impressive video tributes in celebration of a legend.
Leading the parade of visuals, this amazing tribute from Tim Thompson best known for the classic Hockey Night in Canada montages.
Some of our other favourites from a week of remembrances can be found below.