#1: Maurice Richard
Who else could have been the #1 all-time Montreal Canadien? No one.
Maurice Richard is the most loved Hab of all-time. He’s the most prolific scorer in Canadiens’ history. And he gave it his all, right from his first training camp until he retired. He was willing to fight for his team, and the fans were willing to fight for him.
Richard had a rough couple of years at first. Some were worried he was too brittle, as he battled injuries.
But he eventually got through it, and started to dominate. He would dominate the entire league for the next 17 years.
In his second year in the league, Richard got to participate in the NHL playoffs for the first time. He scored 12 goals in nine games as the team won the Stanley Cup.
The following year, in only his third season in the league, Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games, the first player to ever do so.
He once scored all five goals for the Canadiens in a 5-1 win, and was named the game’s first, second and third star.
Richard was always a threat to score, but he wouldn’t back down from a fight. His temper got him into trouble at times. In 1955, he broke two sticks over the head of Boston Bruins player Hal Laycoe. Richard then shoved the referee. With three games left in the season, Richard was suspended for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
Fans were so upset, they started a riot during the next Habs home game, on St. Patrick’s Day. More than $500,000 worth of damage was done.
The Habs would recover, and win the next five Stanley Cups. Richard retired at the end of the streak.
He was elected to the hall of fame in 1961, after the hall made an exemption and let him in. Normally, a player has to be retired for three years before he can be voted in.
Some interesting trivia about Richard:
• He originally started out wearing #15, but switched it to #9 after his first daughter was born, weighing nine pounds.
• Richard tried out for the military, but was turned down because he had too many injuries from playing hockey.
• He was the first player to score eight points in a game.
• He was the first player in history to score 500 goals in a career.
• His number was retired a month after he announced his retirement.
• Was the inspiration for Roch Carrier’s famous book, The Sweater.
• His original nickname wasn’t the Rocket. It was the Comet.
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