Ice Hockey

Maurice Richard: Facts, Born, Nicknames, Died, Spouse, Childrens

Maurice Richard
Written by Jon Snow

Bio/Wiki

Full Name Joseph Henri Maurice Richard
Nickname (s) The Rocket, The Comet
Profession (s) Former Professional Ice Hockey Player

Physical Stats and More

Height (approx.) in centimeters: 178 cm
in meters: 1.78 m
in feet inches: 5 ft. 10 in.
Weight (approx.) in kilogram: 82 kg
in pounds: 180 lbs.
Eye color Dark Brown
Body Type White

Personal Information

Date Of Birth 1921, August 4
Zodiac Sign Cancer
Date of death 2000, May 27
Place Of Birth Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Complexion White
Ethnicity White
Mother Tongue English
Sexual Orientation Straight
Signature

Family Information

Father Onesime Richard
Mother Alice Laramee
Children 7
Wife Lucille Richard

Education Qualifications

High School Montreal Technical School

Career

Position Right Wing
Last Game April 7th, 1960 (Age 39)
Agent Colleen Howe
Sports Career Verdun Maple Leaves (1939-1940)

Montreal Canadians (1940-1960)

NLH debut November 8, 1942, for the Montreal Canadians
Last NLH appearance April 7, 1960, for the Montreal Canadians
NLH statistics Total Goals Scored: 544

Total Assists: 422

Total Goal Points gained: 978

Total points: 966

Total Penalty Points: 1285

Awards and Honours 1944–45, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1954–55, 1955–56 – First Team All-Star

1943–44, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1956–57– Second Team All-Star

1943–44, 1945–46, 1952–53, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60 – 8 times Stanley Cup Champion

1946-47 – Hart Trophy, Most Valuable Player

1952, 1957, 1958 – Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year.

1957 – Lou Marshal Trophy

Money Factor

Salary (Till now) 1942-43 $70,670
1943-44 $66,585
1955-56 $116,095
1956-57 $114,614
1959-60 $228,335
1960-61 $222,658
Total worth $818,958
Maurice Richard Quotes
  • Because I always try so hard to win and had my troubles in Boston, I was suspended. At playoff time, it hurts not to be in the game with the boys. However, I want to do what is good for the people of Montreal and the team. So that no further harm will be done, I would like to ask everyone to get behind the team and to help the boys win from the Rangers and Detroit. I will take my punishment and come back next year to help the club and younger players to win the club.

Lesser Known Facts about Maurice Richard

  • Maurice Richard’s parents originally belonged to the Gaspe region of Quebec before they moved to Montreal.
  • Maurice had seven siblings and he was the oldest of eight Richard kids. Among them, there were three sisters – Georgette, Rollande, and Marguerite, and the four brothers – Rene, Jacques, Henri, and Claude.
  • Richard was only four years old when he received his first pair of ice skates. He spent his time skating on the local rivers. He also had a small backyard ice surface that his father had created. It was not until he was fourteen years old that he had played organized hockey.
  • Apart from hockey, Maurice Richard had also played baseball and was a boxer too. But hockey was his ultimate passion.
  • Maurice Richard had developed his hockey skills by playing ‘hog’ and ‘shinny’, games which required the help of the puck carrier so as to keep the puck away from other players as long as possible.
  • When Richard started playing organized leagues, he started using pseudonyms, like “Maurice Rochon”, so as to void the rules that restricted players to a single time.
  • Richard was only 16 years old when he dropped out of school and intended to work with his father as a machinist.
  • Richard was only 18 years old when he joined the Verdun Juniors. However, as a rookie, he had experienced very little ice time in the regular season.
  • Maurice Richard had scored four goals from ten matches in the regular-season games. He had also added to that six goals in the playoff matches and Verdun had won the provisional Championship.
  • In the year 1940, Maurice Richard was promoted to the Montreal Canadians. But unfortunately, just after his first game, he had resulted in a broken ankle after he had crashed into the boards. As a result of his injury, he had missed the rest of the season. As a result of this injury, he had also lost his chances of joining the Canadian Military. In mid-1941, he had been called to a recruitment center where he was deemed unfit for combat.
  • Outside the game, Richard had a quite reserved nature. He was a quiet person. The bright and outgoing personality of Lucille Richard his wife complimented his quiet nature.
  • Maurice Richard was only 17 when he met Lucille Norchet for the first time. She was a mere fourteen years old at that time and was the sister of one of his teammates. Lucille was very good at guiding Maurice through the disappointments and trials that he experienced in his life, both inside and outside the game. They were engaged when Richard was 20 years old. Though Lucille’s parents thought she was too young, she was soon married to Maurice in the year of 1942 at the age of 17 only.

Maurice Richard

  • Maurice had made a promise to the Canadians’ fans. He had fulfilled his promise by leading Montreal to a Stanley Cup Championship in the season of 1955-56. It was just the beginning of the unprecedented five consecutive Stanley Cup victories by a single team. The beginning of this season had also marked the arrival of his little brother Henry to the team.
  • The beginning of this season also marked the arrival of his earlier Punch line associate, Toe Blake, as head coach. Along with Frank Selke who was the general manager, Blake operated with Richard on curbing his temper and retorting to the goading of his challengers by scoring goals rather than engaging in fistfights.
  • Richard ended the season with a total of 38 goals and 71 points. He was second on the squad in both respects to 47 goals and 88 points scored by Jean Béliveau. Richard had added 14 points in 10 playoff matches as Montreal overpowered Detroit to claim the Stanley Cup. He recorded the second and eventually Cup-clinching goal in the fifth and final game, leading to a 3–1 victory.
  • By the season of 1956-57, which was his 15th NHL season, Richard was crowned by his teammates as the Captain of the Canadians, after the retirement of Emile Bouchard, the previous captain.
  • In that season, Maurice Richard had scored 62 points and 33 goals, he had once again finished in the second position. In the playoff matches, he had scored the overtime-winning goal in the fifth match of the semi-final to eradicate New York, and then recorded four goals in a 5–1 victory and terminated Boston in the first match of the final en route to a five-game series win and second consecutive championship for Montreal.
  • Maurice Richard, during the 1957-58 season, had become the first player in the history of NHL to score five hundred goals in his career. He had only played 28 matches in that regular season and had scored 34 points. This was because he had missed three months as he was suffering from a severed Achilles tendon. He had however made a comeback in time for the playoffs. Maurice had led the ream with eleven goals and fifteen points to their third consecutive win in the Stanley Cup. The overtime-winning goal was scored in the fifth game of the final against Boston by Maurice himself.
  • At thirty-seven years of age, Richard was the oldest player in the season of 1958-59 in the NHL. He had played 42 games in that season and scored 38 points. Unfortunately, he had missed six weeks due to a broken ankle.
  • Maurice Richard was very prone to injuries. He had missed another month again in the season of 1959-1960 because of a broken cheekbone. However, even with their star player being absent for a week, Montreal had won the Stanley cup.
  • The playoff goal in the 1959-1960 season was the last of Maurice Richard. Maurice had announced his retirement as a player after that season. Selke had advised and compelled him to take retirement so as he doesn’t risk his serious injuries anymore.
  • On hearing about his retirement, his former rival, Gordie Howe had offered praises for the star, saying, “He sure was a drawing card. He brought in the crowds that helped pay our wages. Richard certainly has been one of the greatest players in the game and we will miss him.”
  • In the year 1998, an announcement was made saying that Maurice Richard was diagnosed with Abdominal Cancer. Two years later, on the 27th of May, 2000, Maurice breathes his last as he succumbed to the disease. Before the game of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals, there was a short tribute video that highlighted the legacy and the great moments of Richard’s career.
  • Ray Getliffe had remarked that Maurice “went in like a rocket” when he approached the opposition goal. From there a local sportswriter dubbed the name ‘The rocket’. The name was a symbol of Maurice’s speed, strength, and determination. The goaltender Jacques Plante had agreed to the nickname saying that it was one of the most appropriate nicknames for Maurice Richard. He had also said that the fierce intensity often seen in eyes can be compared to that of the rocket’s glare. Even Glenn Hall agreed to say, “What I remember most about Rocket was his eyes. When he came flying toward you with the puck on his stick, his eyes were all lit up, flashing and gleaming like a pinball machine. It was terrifying.”
  • Coach Toe Blake had used the following words to describe his star player “when he would take off, nothing got in the way that could stop him.”
  • The era following the immediate Second World War was the prime period of Maurice Richard’s career. He had faced the battle-hardened players who returned to the game in that period. They had implemented a gladiatorial style that explored the rugged, violent and physical aspects of the game. Maurice himself also had a temper, which was illustrated by his actions that lead to the Richard Riot.

Maurice Richard

  • Maurice Richard was a pure goal scorer. He wasn’t one to play with finesse or one to be known for passing the puck. One of his teammates had even remarked saying, “Maurice wouldn’t even pass you the salt.”
  • Even though Maurice led the NHL five times with respect to goals, he never once led them in the field of points.
  • Maurice was most famous for his dashing towards the net from the blue line. He was also equally adept at scoring from both his forehand and backhand.
  • Maurice Richard was still actively involved in the game when his record of points was overtaken by Gordon Howe. Howe had also surpassed Maurice’s career mark of five hundred and forty-four goals in the year 1963.
  • Richard’s record of fifty goals in a single season stood for a long 20 years before it was broken by Bobby Hull in the year 1965.
  • As a tribute to Canadian Star, Maurice Richard, the Montreal Canadians had donated the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy to the NHL in the year 1999. This award is now presented annually to the leading goal scorer of the league.
  • Richard was at the receiving end of numerous awards throughout his career and even after his retirement. He was awarded by the Canadian press the award of the Male athlete of the year on three occasions. In 1957, Richard won himself the Lou Marsh Trophy. The Hockey Hall of Fame relinquished their five years waiting period in the very next year, Maurice’s name was added to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In the very same year, the Maurice Richard Arena was built; it had five thousand seats and was named in his honor.
  • At the end of his career in 1960, the Canadians retired his sweater number 9.
  • Richard was forced by the then NHL head Campbell to cease writing for the Samedi-Dimanche after he made the following comments – “What did Campbell do when Jean Béliveau was deliberately injured twice by Bill Mosienko of Chicago and Jack Evans of the Rangers? No penalty, no fine, no suspension. Did he suspend Gordie Howe of Detroit when he almost knocked out Dollard St. Laurent‘s eye? No! … Strange that only Dick Irvin and I have the courage to risk our livelihood by defending our rights against such a dictator.”
  • Richard was often physical intimidation when the opposition players tried to stop him. Richard, most of the time, retaliated to those forces with the same strength. This had led to a huge feud which was known as the Richard Riot.
  • Maurice Richard had to face numerous fines by Campbell for many on-ice incidents and was even forced to post a “good-behavior bond” worth a thousand dollars after he had criticized Campbell. Richard was one of the many players who believed that Campbell was partial in his treatments. He said that Campbell treated the French-Canadian players way more harshly than he treated their English counterparts.
  • After the dispute, during a game on March 13, 1955, Hal Laycoe had struck on the head of Maurice Richard and the latter had retaliated immediately by viciously slashing at Hal’s head and then punching an official who tried to intervene. The Boston police had even attempted to arrest Maurice Richard following this incident but Bruins officials had successfully persuaded them to withdraw by promising them that the NSL would handle the situation.
  • Following this incident, Richard was suspended even though he was the NSL lead scorer of the time, for the remaining matches of the regular season.
  • Even though Richard was very popular in Canada, he was looked upon as an icon in Quebec.
  • In a book named ‘The Rocket: A Cultural History of Maurice Richard’, the author Benoit Melancon spoke about the importance of the Richard Riot. He even said, “According to this popular narrative, for the first time the people of Quebec stood up for themselves; especially English Canada delights in anachronistically announcing that this was the beginning of the 1960s Quiet Revolution.”

 

About the author

Jon Snow

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