Category Archives: Lovely Habs Wives

It’s Big, Battered, Beaten, Bruised, And Beautiful

My friend Christopher whom I’ve never met but would like to some day, suggested I show pages of my scrapbook from time to time on quiet Habs news days. Just recently I had posted some of the pages but I’ve decided if I’m going to do it right, I should start over and work through it.

My dad and I started the scrapbook together when I was little and he gradually bowed out and let me carry on. It’s old now, many of the pages are loose, and it’s battered and beat up. But it’s my treasure. I used to invite friends from the old neighbourhood over – “hey, you wanna come over and see my scrapbook?” And they would and then we’d play road hockey and pose like the players we had just seen in the book.

Over the next few months I’ll post various pages from this old book. I hope you enjoy it as much as the neighbourhood kids did.

A Christmas card Maurice Richard sent me when I was seven sits on the inside cover at the beginning.

Inside the Christmas card
The action photo at the top shows the Rocket just seconds before his Achilles tendon was sliced, which kept him out for months. And on the right, a nice family photo of the Richard clan. Also on this page, Rocket shows sons Normand and Andre his massive scrapbook.
An autographed picture sent to me from the Rocket, plus some ticket stubs and a photo of Rocket looking at his goals tally are part of this page.

 

 

Henri and Lise Richard do the dishes. And the gang has a team meal.
Rocket teaches his kids the finer points of hockey, which made me envious, and a sexy photo of a figure skater adorns his wall.
On the bottom right, an injured Jean Beliveau in street clothes sits and talks with Dickie Moore.

A Fine-Looking Crew Paints The Town Red

Circa 1954 Canadiens’ players, wives and girlfriends get together at Butch Bouchard’s Cabaret to enjoy some pops and chuckles. Bouchard (in glasses), Maurice and Lucille Richard, Ken Mosdell, Doug Harvey, Elmer Lach and all the rest of this happy bunch let off some steam during those glorious days when the Habs were close to embarking on five straight Stanley Cups.

Just behind Bouchard and to the left of Elmer Lach is Gerry McNeil with wife Theresa. At the back, being served by the waiter, appears to be Bernie Geoffrion (with Marlene).

12-bouch-rest-group

Lucille And The Girls Get Together To Watch Their Habs Men

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These lovely young women are Habs wives of the 1950’s. They’d gotten together and are obviously watching their husbands on television pound the enemy.

The photo was shot at Maurice and Lucille Richard’s house, and that’s Lucille in the white blouse, fourth from left. Lucille looks like the only one who’s not quite so worried.

I don’t know who the other wives are but I’d love to find out. It’s possible the blonde on the left is Dickie Moore’s wife and the lady in black in the middle is Marlene Geoffrion. But I’m not sure.

Jean Beliveau Gives His Thoughts While In Vancouver

Jean Beliveau was in Vancouver this weekend and gave a really nice interview with The Province’s Jim Jamieson. I thought you might like it. 

 

Q: What does the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens mean to you?

A: I find myself to be very fortunate to be part of it; I’ve been with them since Oct. 3, 1953 when I signed my first contract. I’m a very lucky man. I’ve never been traded and been with the organization for 55 years.

 

Q: How is your health these days? You had some health issues about eight years ago.

A: One morning I was shaving and noticed something on my neck. It turned out to be a malignant tumour. I had 36 treatments of radiation. It’s been 8 1/2 years and we are more optimistic every year.

 

Q: How many children do you and your wife have?

A: I have one daughter who is 51 and two grand-daughters, 24 and 22. The first one is an artist, she paints; and the second is a nurse.

 

Q: You auctioned off some of your memorabilia earlier this year in aid of the Jean Beliveau Foundation. What does your foundation do?

A: When I retired in 1971, the Canadiens presented me with a cheque for $155,000 and I turned it into a fund. In 1993, I turned it over to the Quebec Society for Crippled Children. Now the foundation is worth about $1.5 million and we have given about $1.5 million. I’m very proud.

 

Q: You were a part of the great Canadiens teams that won five straight Stanley Cups in the last half of the 1950’s. With today’s salary cap in the NHL, do you think we’ll ever see that happen again?

A: In today’s hockey it’s going to be difficult. A team is built around four or five guys, if you’re lucky enough to have them. But it’s very difficult to keep them now. If you start playing young, you’re free at 26. Teams have to rebuild all the time.

 

Q: We seem to be seeing more hits from behind and shots to the head today. What would you do to reduce it?

A: I played 23 years and never wore a helmet. I don’t know how players can hit someone from behind when he’s facing the glass. I have a hard time with that. I hope the league finds a way to get rid of it before somebody gets seriously hurt. If you’re suspended it hits the pocketbook.

 

Q: Who was the most difficult goaltender, defenceman and forward that you ever played against?

A: I always had a lot of respect for Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk. On defence there were some great ones – Bobby Orr, because of his speed, won the scoring championship. Red Kelly in Detroit also, but every team had a great defenceman when there was just six teams. At forward, I always had respect for Gordie Howe. He could do everything. Every time we played Chicago I was out against [Stan] Mikita and against Toronto it was [Dave] Keon. The Rangers had Jean Ratelle and [Rod] Gilbert, but there were so many others.

 

Q: Who was the best player you played with on the Canadiens?

A: Well, Maurice [Richard] of course, but I used to play with him mostly on the power play. My line was [Bernie “Boom Boom”] Geoffrion and Bert Olmstead, so we had two offensive lines and a good checking line. Also, we had Doug Harvey on defence. He could control the speed of the game like a general out there.

 

Q: The Canadiens power play was so dominant in the 1950’s that you actually forced the NHL to change the minor-penalty rule because your team would often score multiple goals on the same man advantage.

A: We had Maurice on the right, Bert Olmstead or Dickie Moore on the left, and and Harvey and Geoffrion on the point. One night against Boston (Nov. 5, 1955) I got three goals in 44 seconds on the power play. So they changed the rule that a player would come out of the box after one goal.

 

Q: How have you seen the NHL change through expansion?

A: I’m not surprised there are a few cities in the south that seem to have problems. Here in Canada, everybody has skated and they know about the game. In the morning when I check the summary of the games, I look at shots and attendance. In the US, the attendance is increasing it seems after the Super Bowl.

 

Copyright (c) The Province

Lovely Habs Wives In The 1960’s. (Part 5 of 5)

One of the most important players on the Habs of the early 1960’s, and a third and fourth line grinder at that. Dave Balon and his beautiful wife.

Sadly, Balon passed away several years back, and it was way too early.

Balon was one of those guys who was never a star, but was a hard worker, a checker, and he shone in playoff situations, scoring key goals, and was put out often in key situations against the other teams’ stars. For every Jean Beliveau, a team needs a Dave Balon.  He wore number 20, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s never gotten enough credit for what he did for the Montreal Canadiens. Tom Kostopoulos nowadays is a bit of a throwback in some ways to Balon.

Look how happy they look, especially his wife.

 

 

Ralph Backstrom and his wife Frances and kids. Isn’t she a sweetheart?

After Backstrom’s playing days were over, he ended up coaching the University of Denver team, and in 2003, founded the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League, which is where he’s at now.

Backstrom was always one of my favourite players. I even got a brushcut like his once. The guy personified the Montreal Canadien teams he played on – speedy, classy, and a beautiful skater.

People used to hope that he and Henri Richard would have a race because they were both considered the fastest skaters on the team.

And what a lovely wife he has.

Lovely Habs Wives in the 1960’s. (Part 4 of 5)

 

Canadiens goaltender Charlie Hodge and lovely wife Sheila. Charlie had the unfortunate luck of being on the same team as Jacques Plante, so he basically was a career backup goalie with the Habs. But he was a great backup. He eventually went to Oakland when expansion came into being in 1967, as each team had to surrender a goalie for the new upstarts. (the original six teams were allowed to protect only 11 skaters and one goalie.)

Charlie now lives just east of Vancouver. 

John Ferguson with wife Jean and daughter in this really nice family photo. As much as Fergie was a bruiser on the ice, he was known as a gentle pushover at home.

Fergie would go back to Nanaimo BC in the off-season to play professional lacrosse and he also had a long-time love affair with harness racing. (athletes’ wives put up with a lot, don’t they?)

Fergie’s son, John Ferguson Jr., who would grow up to become GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs until he was fired last year, wasn’t born when this picture was taken. This is from the early 1960’s, and John Jr. wasn’t born until 1967.

Lovely Habs Wives in the 1950’s (Part 3 of 5)

Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion with his wife Marlene and kids. That little gaffer is Danny, who went on to play for the Habs in the late ’70’s, early ’80’s. Marlene is the daughter of Howie Morenz, so she’s a hockey gal through and through. She looks beautiful, especially the picture of her in the white blouse.

 

Big Jean Beliveau doing the dishes with wife Elise. Elise said she had to do most of the driving when they were dating because Jean was a lousy driver.

Lovely Habs Wives In The 1950’s (Part 2 of 5)

Jacques Plante, with wife Jacqueline and boys Michel and Richard, singing and forgetting about flying pucks that hurt when they hit your face. Plante also liked to knit, and made his own socks and toques.

 

Dickie Moore and his lovely wife playing with their little baby. Such a fine looking couple. One of Moore’s daughters, and it could be the one in this photo, is dating one of Doug Harvey’s sons right now.

 

Bert Olmstead showing his beautiful family his scrapbook, just like the Rocket did. Scrapbooks were all the rage back then, and probably very cool when the scrapbook was about yourself. A few years back, I looked up Olmstead in the Calgary phone book, phoned him and asked him if he’d mind talking about the old days with the Habs. He hung up on me.

Lovely Habs Wives In The 1950’s (Part 1 of 5)

This is Maurice Richard, of course, just sitting around with his wife Lucille and the family. The kids are Maurice Jr., Hugette, Normand, Andre, and Suzanne. In the left photo, the Rocket shows his Rocket scrapbook to Normand and Andre. Most kids don’t have dads with a personal scrapbook. However, my dad was probably a much better sign painter than the Rocket.

Henri Richard and his lovely wife Lise, being happy and healthy at home in Montreal. We would see Lise often over the years in camera shots at games with the Pocket. She’s always looked great. Quite a handsome couple, don’t you think?

Henri was just a little kid when his older brother was becoming a star with the Canadiens.