<
>

Canadiens great Beliveau honored in Montreal

MONTREAL -- Many former NHL greats and Prime Minister
Stephen Harper turned out Thursday night to honor legendary
Montreal Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau.

The Bell Centre was transformed into a giant dining hall filled
with tuxedo-clad hockey stars, politicians past and present and
many members of the business community to pay tribute to the
75-year-old Beliveau.

"It's hard to have the right words to describe it," Beliveau
said before the event. "I've been retired from hockey for 35 or 36
years and I'm always amazed to have so many invitations and having
nights like this."

Former Detroit Red Wing Gordie Howe, ex-Toronto Maple Leafs
goalie Johnny Bower, former New York Ranger Rod Gilbert and former
Leafs and Wings star Red Kelly, as well as dozens of former
Montreal Canadiens were on hand.

Beliveau retired after the Canadiens won the 1971 Stanley Cup.
For 18 seasons, he had been one of the NHL's most dominant players,
suiting up for 10 Stanley Cup championship teams.

The tall center scored 507 goals and had 1,219 points, but was
known as much for his natural leadership and gracious personality
as for his hockey exploits.

After his retirement, Beliveau worked in the Canadiens front
office for years, but always had time for charity work,
particularly for children's causes.