Legendary Lach shines in spotlight

Elmer Lach with the Art Ross Trophy (left), awarded annually to the NHL’s leading point scorer. He was the inaugural recipient in 1948. At right is the Frank Selke Trophy, honouring the NHL’s outstanding defensive forward.
Allen McInnis, Gazette

• TV update: Short profile airs on CBC Montreal’s 6 pm news tonight; longer version on The National next week, date TBA.

Canadiens legend Elmer Lach, the 91-year-old Hall of Famer who centred the Habs’ magnificent Punch Line of Maurice (Rocket) Richard and Toe Blake, captivated an overflow crowd at Pointe Claire City Hall last night, regaling the audience with tales of his career.

Elmer’s talk, which drew a standing ovation, was the centrepiece of an interactive discussion on the 100 years of the Canadiens, organized by the Pointe Claire Public Library’s Mary-Jane O’Neill and held in the city’s council chambers, Mayor Bill McMurchie a rapt listener in the front row.

Vintage equipment and modern-day gear of the Canadiens was on display, as were three NHL trophies brought in especially for the event by the white-gloved Craig Campbell of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Veteran broadcaster Dick Irvin Jr., whose father, Dick Sr., was Elmer’s only coach during a 14-year Canadiens career, and Dave Stubbs of The Gazette and Habs Inside/Out, also spoke last night, discussing the remarkable history of hockey’s most storied team.

Elmer will be profiled tonight on the CBC National News by reporter Lynne Robson, with a longer report to come in the days ahead.

More photos from the evening, from top:

• A 1940s woollen Habs sweater hangs beside the synthetic jersey of Canadiens’ Robert Lang. They are displayed in front of replicas of the fibreglass masks worn by Rogie Vachon, Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden. At left is the Art Ross Trophy;
• Pointe Claire Oldtimers Hockey president Lorne Pearson studies the Art Ross (left) and Frank Selke trophies. The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, recognizing perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, also was featured;
• Elmer Lach listens to speaker Dick Irvin Jr.;
• Elmer and Dave Stubbs discuss modern skates and one-piece wooden sticks;
• Elmer on a roll… no microphone required;
• Youngsters find a comfortable place to hear stories of the Canadiens’ past.


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