The Canadiens announced Friday that one of the team’s greatest players, Hall of Famer and team ambassador Jean Béliveau, will have a surgical procedure next week to repair abdominal aneurysms. The 79-year old former Canadiens captain, who successfully battled cancer in 2000 and has dealt with heart ailments in the past, is expected to need a few months to fully recover.
Here is the release from the team:
The Montreal Canadiens announced Friday that longtime Canadiens legend and current Team Ambassador Jean Béliveau is scheduled to undergo a preventive surgical procedure next week to repair abdominal aneurysms. The procedure known as endovascular surgery will be performed using the most recent techniques which are minimally invasive.
Mr. Béliveau, whose general state of health is very good, will need a few months to fully recover from the surgical intervention. As of today and for the duration of his convalescence Mr. Béliveau humbly asks for everyone to respect his privacy and that of his family.
“We are pleased that Mr. Béliveau is under the good care of Head Team Physician David Mulder. On behalf of all of our fans, players and the entire Montreal Canadiens family, I would like to wish Mr. Béliveau a prompt and complete recovery”, stated Canadiens team owner and CEO Geoff Molson.
Béliveau played on 10 Stanley Cup champions with the Habs. As an executive with the Canadiens, his name appears on the Stanley Cup 7 more times, and the 17 times his name has been engraved on the Cup is more than any other individual.
In 1965, he was the first player awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup playoff’s most valuable player and here’s video of the Canadiens winning the Cup that year and the presentation of the Cup and the trophy to Béliveau.
Béliveau retired in 1971 as the Canadiens all-time scoring leader with 507 goals and 712 assists for 1,219 points. He was second all-time in goals after Maurice Richard’s 544 and was the NHL’s all-time leading playoff scorer with 79 goals and 97 assists for 176 points in 162 playoff games.
His jersey number Number 4 was retired on October 9, 1971. In 1972, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is now the second all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history, behind Guy Lafleur. Only Henri Richard (1256 games) and Larry Robinson (1202 games) played more regular season games for the Habs than Beliveau’s 1,125.
He has also been active throughout his life doing charitable work through the Jean Béliveau Foundation, established in 1971. In 1993, he transferred the foundation to the Society for Disabled Children.
In addition to his magnificent hockey career, Béliveau has received numerous honours and awards including several honourary doctorates from Canadian universities, plus the Loyola Medal in 1995. He was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1988 and promoted to Officer in 2006. He was appointed as a Grand Officer in 2010.
On May 6, 1998 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian award. In 2001, his name was added to Canada’s Walk of Fame, the same year he was honoured with his portrait on a Canadian postage stamp. In August 2008, the Canadian Pacific Railway named a station in his honour. McGill University gave Béliveau an honourary Doctor of Laws degree in 2006.
On June 29, 2009, he was named an honourary Team Canada member and honourary captain of Canada’s 2010 Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, which won the gold medal in Vancouver.
Here’s the segment on Béliveau from the TV series “Greatest Hockey Legends.”