Habs icon Jean Béliveau hospitalized

Jean Beliveau

Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau was hospitalized Monday after having suffered a stroke.

The brief Canadiens’ release:

MONTREAL (February 28, 2012) – The Montreal Canadiens announced today that Jean Béliveau suffered a stroke on Monday evening and was admitted to the hospital.

Now 80 years old, Mr. Béliveau is currently undergoing active investigation and treatments. As of today and for the duration of his convalescence Mr. Béliveau humbly asks everyone to respect his privacy and that of his family.

We’ll keep readers posted, and we’ll ask that you all keep Le Gros Bill in your thoughts and prayers.


  1. bigjames says:

    Dear Mr. Beliveau,

    i met you many years ago in my pee wee league in westmount in the 70s. i was so young and could barely believe you were with us.

    i have lived more than half of my life far from montreal, in hong kong, china. but the montreal canadiens and the great players like you are one of the major attachements to the city of my birth. the pride of nos canadiens, even in a difficult season like this one, defines me as a person. you sir, with your dedication to the team and city, as a player and as a representative of the team, define montreal pride. i remember seing you on tv, from hong kong, give glen metropolit, then with the habs, a pump to the shoulder during our great playoff run a few years ago. and i thought, wow this legend still cares, still does all he can to push our great team on.. wow that is true dedication.
    you are an embassador of class, of the tradition of our flambeau, of all that defines montrealers, wherevera they end up.
    sir, all around the world, people pray for your health, people pause in their daily life, to wish you well and to thank you for helping define all of us as proud montrealers.
    bon courage mr. beliveau.
    big james
    hong kong

  2. secretdragonfly says:

    I wanted to post this yesterday but also wanted to make sure I had the facts right. Here is my hubby’s great (and only) Jean Beliveau story –

    When I was about 10 years old and living in N.D.G. my friends and I heard that the Canadiens were converging at Trenholm Park in the west end of Montreal to play a softball game against the Canadiens “oldtimers”. All of our hero’s were there, Yvon Cournoyer, Gump Worsley, John Ferguson, and every kid’s favourite player, Jean Beliveau.
    Our gang of 10 kids ran the seven blocks from Madison Avenue along de Maisonneuve and up Ave. Park Row East to the baseball diamond just before Sherbrooke St. W. There they were, in all their glorieux, our Habs. They were giants to us and we scattered across the diamond to collect as many autographs as we could in the remaining minutes before the game.
    As I ran from player to player on the field I spotted Mr. Beliveau, wearing a suit and striding quickly towards Sherbrooke St. He was leaving! With every ounce of energy I chased him, desperate to get his autograph. I caught up to him with two other kids in tow just as he reached his car yelling “Mr. Beliveau, Mr. Beliveau, can I have your autograph?” Jean took a glance back and said “No, no more, I have to go”. But I ran right up to him and said “Please, Mr. Beliveau, just one more!”. Jean Beliveau, my hero, turned and looked straight at me and said “Just one more?” I said “yes”. That’s when he reached past me to one of the kids behind me and signed his autograph pad, then he swivelled on his heel and walked towards his car again…my heart dropped, I blew it. A couple of seconds later Mr. Beliveau turned around, a big smile on his face, and he signed my autograph pad. I stood in awe as he drove away.
    What a guy.

  3. Ealier yesterday I posted a brief note about the story of Jean’s “undersized” heart. Though I wished to, I could not provide a referrence for the story at the time. Here it is now, from Jean’s autobiography – My Life In Hockey, pages 114-116:

    Even today, the occasional older fan will remind me of a story that circulated at the time; I was described as a Cadillac chassis with a Volkswagon engine, hampered by a heart that wasn’t big enough or strong enough for my body size and my demanding sport. The story was essentially true, but while the Cadillac metaphor remained a constant, the heart’s small vehicle tended to change model every now and then.

    The story originated in 1953. When I signed my first contract with the Canadiens, team management though it prudent to secure insurance on me, considering the $100,000 plus contract we had agreed to; the team would be protected if my playing days came to an abrupt end through accident or misadventure. Naturally I underwent a stringent physical, during which doctors noted a “cardiac anomaly” – one or two degrees down from an “abnormality.” Nonetheless, Frank Selke was shocked to be told that the insurance company would not issue the policy. The examining physician had written in the file: “He has an Austin’s motor in a Cadillac’s Chassis.” The Austin was a tiny British car, the most underpowered vehicle the doctor could think of on the spur of the moment.

    No one suggested that this condition was at all life threatening, but there were problems. My “pump” could not move enough blood through my system when I was physically stressed. Symptoms of this anomaly included fatigue,nausea, temporary loss of sight, a shortness of breath that sometimes felt like suffocation, and chest pains so sharp that I felt my heart was ready to burst. Plainly, I should have looked for other work. Instead, I went out and helped the Canadiens win five consecutive Stanley Cups. Doctors were amazed that I could function as a professional athlete; according to them, I sorely lacked the neccessary physical gifts.

    Everyone knows Mr. Beliveau’s story and legacy. In figurative terms, he displayed a huge heart. His hockey career was simply Act I of great life. Act II, as a humanitarian, surpassed the first act.

    Get well soon, our big-hearted friend. We need you!


  4. Mc says:

    I grew up in Toronto as a Habs fan and my 2 favourite players were Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard…….All the best to Jean Beliveau and wishes for a speedy recovery.
    (And happy 76th birthday to Henri Richard tomorrow….even if it is only his 14th…..)

  5. Joe Latham says:

    As a young boy who grew up in a small town in southwest Ontario, I was an anomaly; i was the only Habs fan in town. Somehow, by the age of three, I was under the spell of the Bleu Blanc Rouge, led, of course by an amazingly talented gentleman, Monsieur Jean Bealiveau. Even as i was surrounded by Maple Leaf fans (at home and at school), Big Jean made it NATURAL to be a Habs fan.There simply was no doubt in my mind, then, or now. His grace, dignity and charm has been copied by many, yet, duplicated by NONE. We shall never see the likes of Jean Beliveau again, and I know I join thousands of fans from coast to coast, and especially in La Belle Province when I wish him all the best for a full recovery. Jean, you are irreplacable.

    • beliveau4 says:

      I too grew up in Southern Ontario and was raised a Habs fan. I became such a Jean Beliveau fan that I named my son Beliveau in honor of him. Thats right, thats his first name! My wife was so sure that our last child was going to be a girl that she told me that if it was a boy I could call him whatever I wanted. Jean mentions this in his book about his 40 years with the Canadiens. Jean and I became good friends through the years and I always get a Christmas card from him. I was fortunate to meet with him this summer at his residence with my son. He is such a class act! My son who is now 18 will never forget this meeting and our thoughts and prayers are with Jean and Elise.

  6. Get well soon Monsieur Beliveau.

    I am only 17 years old so I am not as lucky as some fans here who have witnessed your magic live on the ice. You’re simply one of the best and one of the key reasons why this organization has class and the rich history that it possesses.

    Get well soon and join us back in the Bell Centre. Seeing a home game without you in the stands always gives me a weird feeling.. as if something is missing.

  7. jegervari says:

    Best wish’s to mr. Beliveau and his family in hopes of a speedy recovery. Know that Montreal fans from around the world have you in our thoughts and prayers

  8. JohnBellyful says:

    Best wishes, Jean. You represent the best of what it means to be a Canadian and a Canadien. The C on your sweater stood for Class, the CH for character. I grew up admiring you as a great player and came to know just how great you are off the ice. My thoughts are with you.

  9. HabsInHamilton says:

    Man that sucks! Get well soon Jean 🙂

  10. Selkie says:

    To Mr. Beliveau take your time and have a healthy recovery, your family needs you and ALL OF HABS NATION! fight hard fight hard and stay around for a long time! NOUS SOMMES CANADIENS!

  11. RetroMikey says:

    Sad to see only 115 comments from Habs fans wishing one of the greatest Habs of all time a get well note.
    Where are the rest of our fans to wish him well?

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  12. habssince1909 says:

    Thinking of you and your family – always my all time favourite Hab – hope you are back at the Bell Centre as soon as possible!!

  13. soperman says:

    Get well soon M. Beliveau.

  14. TheAmerican says:

    God Bless you and your family Mr. Beliveau.

  15. kholdstare says:

    Thank you to whoever is in control of the comments section, that was an amazing thing to do and you are a class act for doing it. Very fitting it was done on a page for a very class act of a man.

    Thanks again

  16. PEC Hab says:

    The point is having some respect for him and what he has done. Criticize all you like, but to call him a “joke show” is outrageous. He is, along with Beliveau and others, what the CH is all about. Playing after having both shoulder popped back in during a game, blowing up Bobby Orr on his first shift, etc. etc. I will let this go now due to what this thread is intended for, the results “might” be mediocre. The man is not.

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