The young fellow posing with the Rocket is Normand Richard, Rocket’s second oldest son (behind Maurice Jr.). Normand is my age within a few months, and I thought he was the luckiest kid in the world. Imagine being the son of the great Maurice Richard!
I used to daydream about what it would be like being the Rocket’s son. About how Normand would go to games at the old Forum and sit in special seats reserved for his family and watch his dad, the hero of so many, scoring the big goal with thousands of people cheering his name.
I used to wonder what it would be like at home, having dinner and listening to stories about life in the NHL and games in the other five cities. I thought about the fishing trips Normand would go on with his dad. And I thought about my dad, a sign painter, an ordinary man with very little money, and how our tiny little house surely wouldn’t measure up to the house Normand and his dad lived in.
These were daydreams an eight or nine year old boy dreamed.
When the great Rocket passed away in 2000, I watched the funeral on TV, and I saw glimpses of Normand. He was fifty then, on crutches from a broken leg, and his face held indescribable grief. I’d heard many times over the years how close he had been to his dad, and it was very sad to see him saying goodbye.
For a lot of reasons, I’ve felt a bond with Normand, and I really love this picture at the top of this page.