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Maurice "Rocket" Richard

December 28, 1944 was moving day for 23 year old Maurice Richard. All day he hefted furniture - including a piano - into his new house. That night he scored 5 goals and 3 assists to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 9-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, setting an NHL record.


During Game Seven of the 1952 Stanley Cup final against Boston, an injured Richard, squinting through blood from an earlier blow, scored the tie-breaking goal to win the Cup. He received a four-minute standing ovation, the longest in MontrMal Forum history.

Maurice 'Rocket' Richard
Maurice "Rocket" Richard
1921 - 2000
Such is the stuff of legends, and "Rocket" Richard's explosive 18 year career made him the most exciting player of his generation, and a national hero among QuMbecois. Fiercely competitive, a virtual demon on ice, Richard was a scoring genius. In 1944-45 he scored 50 goals in 50 games, hockey's most celebrated record for many years. He led the league in goals five times and won the Hart Trophy in 1947. Above all, Richard excelled under pressure. He scored 18 playoff game-winning goals, still a record today.

Richard's passionate personality, combined with his short temper often led to conflict, and once, to a riot. In March 1955, in the fury of a hockey fight, Richard punched a linesman. When President Clarence Campbell suspended Richard for the rest of the season, Montreal fans were outraged.

The next night Campbell dared to show up at the game, and the fans went wild. They attacked Campbell, and the violence spilled out onto the streets in the worst riot in Canadian sports history.

Richard's career ended in 1960 after he suffered a severed Achilles tendon. Yet despite missing many games due to injuries over his career, The Rocket scored 544 goals in regular season play, and 82 goals in Stanley Cup play. He was named Canada's male athlete of the year twice, and to many Quebecois he remains the "man of the century." Maurice Richard passed away on May 27, 2000 after losing his second battle of cancer.

SOURCE: The CRB Foundation - Heritage Project.

See also
Canadian Personalities

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt