January 25, 2010
In 2003 I wrote a sports column about Jean Béliveau, entitled Humbled by a Hockey Hero. I was doing so because, to my surprise, few in my local area had ever heard of him. To me, having been raised in Canada, it was comparable to nobody knowing the name Elvis Presley or Arnold Palmer.
I heard Mr. Béliveau was recently hospitalized after suffering a stroke. My understanding is he is in stable condition and hopefully on his way to recovery. Times like these cause me to reflect, and in the case of this irreplaceable icon to hockey, sports and mankind, the reflection is more like reverie than simple memories.
And today’s technology allows more Jean Béliveau admirers to be heard than ever possible in his era. The only Forum in the old days of Montreal had ice. Browse an internet forum today and you will be amazed at the outpouring of well-wishes. In an age where even the nicest people can be castigated, critiqued or worse, I have yet to read a negative word about this great man.
Even Toronto Maple Leaf fans have only nice things to say about Béliveau, and that my friends, is saying a lot!
As ever, I wish to celebrate Jean Béliveau and his life while he is thankfully still with us.
And then again, there will never be a day in this Montreal kid’s life where he is not.
Godspeed, Jean Béliveau. À la prochaine…
Vancouver, Washington, USA