#3: Jean Beliveau
Jean Beliveau made the Montreal Canadiens wait before signing with the team.
But was he ever worth the wait.
To get him to play with the Habs, the Habs had to buy the Quebec Senior Hockey League, and turn it professional. Because Beliveau had signed a contract that said he must play with the Canadiens if he played professionally, he had to leave the QSHL for the NHL.
Beliveau was a bona fide leader, one of the best the game has ever seen. He wore the captaincy for 10 years, which was a Canadiens record until recently. He never scored less than 12 goals in a season, and scored a career high 47 in 1955-56. That year, he won the Art Ross trophy as the league’s points leader and the Hart trophy as the league’s most valuable player. He would win the Hart trophy again in 1961.
A few years later, the league introduced a new trophy, the Conn Smythe. That was awarded to the player deemed most valuable in the playoffs. Beliveau won that trophy in its first year.
In 18 years of playing with the team, he won 10 Stanley Cups, one less than NHL record-holder Henri Richard. However, upon retiring, he became an executive with the team, and would proceed to win seven more as an executive.
When he retired in 1971, he was the NHL’s all-time scoring leader in the playoffs. It didn’t take long to retire his number, as the Habs did that in October, 1971. The next year, he was elected to the hall of fame.
He is still involved with the team, regularly attending games and being a goodwill ambassador in the community.
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