Another passing of a Habs warrior, this time Bob Fillion, who played seven seasons for the Canadiens beginning in 1943-44 and ending in 1949-50, which was when my mom was a couple of months pregnant with me, and of course long before I learned that the most important things in life are family, friends, babies, Habs, certain music, and cold beer.
Bob was 94.
Because I never saw him play, and only know him and his career from what I’ve read, I’ll only say now that he was considered a valuable defensive left winger, was a Stanley Cup member in 1944 and 1946, and was a teammate of Maurice Richard in the early days of Rocket’s career.
I think I could also mention (from Dick Irvin’s book ‘The Habs’) that when Fillion was at training camp in 1939 with the Verdun Juniors, there was one spot left on the roster and the coach, Arthur Therrien, asked Fillion, Butch Bouchard, and goaltender Paul Bibeault which of the players left should stay.
“We were watching this guy who had an Esso sweater on, with three stars on the front,” said Fillion. “He was skating very good and I asked Butch Bouchard what he thought of him. We didn’t know his name. Butch agreed with me that the guy was a very good skater. So after five minutes or so we went to Arthur Therrien and asked him what he thought about the guy with the stars. So he called him over and told him he would be the last guy picked for the team. Then we found out his name, and it was Maurice Richard.”
Fillion also adds, “I always wondered what would have happened if we hadn’t mentioned Maurice Richard to Arthur Therrien. Maybe he would’ve quit hockey. He was the last player picked for the team. I think that was a very important day in the career of Maurice Richard.”
Bob Fillion’s passing is a huge loss to the Canadiens fraternity. A key member of the organization, on and off the ice. A great team ambassador, right to the end.
RIP Mr. Fillion.
I have Bob’s autograph on a game-used Billy Reay stick from the 1948-49 campaign. I also bid on Bob’s 1940s Habs team jacket back in 2008 but the bidding, that began at $300, ended at $999 and somewhere in between I bowed out. But I managed to get a similar one that belonged to a Nothern Ontario scout, later on.
Below, Bob Fillion’s Group 2 Bee Hive picture, from my prized Bee Hive collection.
Here’s my jacket like the Fillion one that I was outbid on. If I lost my beer gut I could wear it around town.