This great old MacLean’s magazine (below) is from March 29, 1958, and has a nice feature on Henri Richard and how the small centreman (5’7″, 160 lbs.) was emerging from his big brother’s shadow and making a name for himself on his own merits.
Henri was just six years old when his parents began taking him to the Forum to see Maurice play, and as he grew up people constantly pointed him out as Maurice Richard’s younger brother. That was a problem with Henri – he was Maurice’s brother. People wouldn’t let him forget it, and he was taunted by junior opponents and by fans. “Hey Rocket, come and help me,” they’d yell, or, “I’m going to tell my brother on you.”
But Henri stuck it out, made the big team, blossomed on his own, fought his own battles, and became so much more than just a kid brother. Coach Toe Blake said he was the fastest player he’d ever seen, even faster than Howie Morenz, whom Blake had played a short time with. Henri was tough as nails, would become a legend as we all know, one of the greatest Habs ever, and throughout his career he was the all-important second-line centreman on the Canadiens, behind Jean Beliveau, and captured a record-setting 11 Stanley Cups, which is the most by any player ever. (Beliveau has 10).
He did it all without a whole lot of help from big brother, and as he and Rocket rarely spoke in the room or on the ice. Although you can be sure that Henri was inspired by Maurice in many ways.
That’s just the way it was, and it worked out fine.