Geoffrion, Moore, Cournoyer to have jerseys retired
MONTREAL -- Bernie Geoffrion, Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer will have their jerseys retired by the Montreal Canadiens this season.
Geoffrion, the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, won six Stanley Cups with Montreal from 1950-64. His No. 5 remained in circulation following his trade to New York and nine other players subsequently wore the number, including All-Star defenseman Guy Lapointe from 1970-82.
The number, which was most recently worn by Stephane Quintal, will be retired in Geoffrion's honor in a March 11 ceremony prior to a game against the Rangers, who Geoffrion finished his career with in 1967-68.
"At the beginning, I was happy for the guys," Geoffrion said about his number's continued use. "My name wasn't there, but my number was. But I said to [my wife] Marlene, 'They would not have done that to the Rocket, they would not have done it to Henri, they wouldn't have done that to other players. Why me?'
"That was the question that I always had, but now, I know why. They were waiting for a special event, and it's happening. And I'm the happiest guy in the world."
Geoffrion's wife is the daughter of Canadiens legend Howie Morenz, whose No. 7 was the first retired by the team following his death in 1937.
"When I first dated him he once said, 'See your father's number up there? One of these days, mine is going to be there,'" Marlene Geoffrion said. "After the first 10 years or so after he retired, he said, 'I guess it's never going to happen.' So finally, it did, and he's very happy."
Maurice "Rocket" Richard's No. 9, Jean Beliveau's No. 4, Henri Richard's No. 16, Guy Lafleur's No. 10, Doug Harvey's No. 2 and Jacques Plante's No. 1 have also been retired by Montreal.
The Canadiens will retire No. 12 prior to their game against Toronto on Nov. 12, honoring both Moore and Cournoyer. It marks the first time Montreal has retired the same number to honor two players.
"Yvan carried the torch so high, he brought it even higher than I did," Moore said. "I never expected this to happen for me, but I'm really honored."
Moore was a member of the same six Stanley Cup-winning teams as Geoffrion, including the Canadiens' NHL record five straight championships from 1956-60. The NHL's leading scorer in consecutive seasons in 1957-58 and 1958-59, he recorded 594 of his 608 regular-season points with Montreal from 1951-63, including 254 goals. Moore, who also played for Toronto and St. Louis, had 38 goals and 94 points in 112 playoff games with the Canadiens.
Cournoyer, a speedy winger nicknamed the Roadrunner, inherited Moore's number as a rookie in 1963 and won 10 Stanley Cup titles during his 16-year NHL career with Montreal. With Cournoyer as captain, the Canadiens won four straight Cups from 1976-79.
"When I was told my number was going to be retired, my whole career ran through my head," Cournoyer said. "I first went to the Forum as a 17-year-old and I retired at 35. I thought, 'Wow! Now I'm going to be with my friends Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, and all the guys who have their sweaters retired, and mine is going to be up there.' It's something so special."
Darcy Tucker most recently wore No. 12 in 1997-98.
"I was very proud to watch a hockey player wear my number," Moore said. "Mike Keane wore it with so much pride that it made me even prouder. This is even more special. To have your sweater hoisted to the rafters with all the greats, Doug Harvey, Maurice, Plante and Henri, I'm back with all the brothers again. Hope they pass me the puck, once in a while."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press