The Rocket tapes his stick during the 1959-60 season, while sons Normand and Maurice Jr. watch carefully.
Normand is the same age as me, and when I was living in Montreal a couple of years ago, I phoned him. Twice.
The first time I called, I opened with “Hi Normand, your dad was my hero!”, or something like that. The second time was more along the lines of, “Hi, it’s that guy again who called that other time.”
Normand was very nice and seemed just fine with the fact that some stranger was calling. I appreciated that.
Both times I called we talked for about 20 minutes or so, and during the second chat he agreed to meet me for coffee, although he said he was driving a friend’s car to Florida the next day and we’d have to wait until he got back.
I was very excited. I wanted to tell him that when I was a kid, I often wondered what it would be like to be the Rocket’s son. And I wondered if we’d need menus.
I wanted to be Normand’s friend back then, and I wanted to be his friend now.
But it wasn’t to be. Mainly because when he got back from Florida, I was back in Powell River.
The Maurice Richard family. from left – Maurice Jr., Hugette, Lucille, Suzanne on Rocket’s lap, Normand, and Andre on the floor with his teddy bear. This is circa 1958. Two other boys, Paul and Jean, would round out this family.
I’ve read that Maurice Jr. was a fine hockey player, his nickname was “The Little Rocket,” but he became the subject of adults in the stands who gave him grief for not being as good as his dad. Normand was a decent athlete too, but also heard nasty remarks because he happened to be the son of such an icon. For whatever reasons, when it comes to certain adults or other parents in the stands, some can be absolute imbeciles.
From my archives – May 7, 2008
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’d 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 other Canadiens who would visit the house, and the fishing trips Normand would go on with his dad.
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.