Maurice Richard - Honours

Honours

In 1967 Richard was inducted into the grade of Officer in the Order of Canada, making him one of the first members of the order. He was later promoted to Companion of the order in 1998, the same year he was ranked number five on The Hockey News list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, the highest-ranking Montreal Canadien. Richard was also given the rare distinction of being appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in 1992, entitling him to the style The Honourable (French: L'Honorable) for life. The appointment, and those of twenty others that year made by the Governor General on the advice of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, remains unusual as, traditionally, being made a privy councillor is an act reserved for members of Cabinet, Chief Justices of Canada, and certain others who require access to classified documents. In August 2008, Canadian Pacific Railway named a station in his honour.

Although Richard had a falling-out with the Canadiens not long after he retired in 1960, he eventually patched things up and returned to them, serving the club as an unofficial goodwill ambassador from 1991 – highlighted by the Habs' most recent (to date) Cup in 1993 – until he died. The Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy was donated by the Montreal Canadiens hockey club to the NHL in 1999, to be awarded annually to the goal-scoring leader during the regular season. Richard himself had led the league in goals five times.

In 1996 at the closing of the Montreal Forum, a tearful "Rocket" received the longest standing ovation in the city's history: Over 16 minutes of adulation poured over him, chanting his nickname over and over again. Richard, always the reluctant hero, looked around in surprise for the first few minutes. When he realized the crowd was not letting up and their love for him was real, he broke down in tears while waving and mouthing "thank you". He rarely showed this side of himself, as he always tried to remain humble. The last few minutes of adulation saw Richard closing his eyes, while the crowd chanted "GO HABS GO!" over and over again. Richard later stated that when he closed his eyes and heard the crowd, it brought him back to his younger days. He thought it was a very loving gesture by the fans. A Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team was also named after him, the Rocket de Montréal, playing out of the Maurice Richard Arena (in 2003 this team moved to Prince Edward Island becoming the P.E.I. Rocket). Their team logo prominently features Richard's number 9. On June 27, 2001, the Canadian government unveiled a monument in Jacques-Cartier Park, in Hull, Quebec, honouring Richard, and he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

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