Joseph Jean Arthur Béliveau was born on August 31, 1931. He was the oldest of eight kids born to Arthur and Laurette Béliveau. He was a professional hockey player who played for 20 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, from 1950 to 1971.
The Béliveaus, like many future hockey players of that era, had a backyard ice rink on which their children and friends played shinny. This is where Jean learned to play hockey, until he was 12 years old. His first organized hockey team he played with was a house league at L’Académie, which they played on their school rink.
Béliveau started playing junior hockey at just 15 years old, the Victoriaville Panthers, where he also won many trophies. As a child, he also played baseball, and did so well enough that his family had to turn down an offer for a professional contract for a minor league.
Jean Beliveau was already a star ice hockey player by the age of 15, when the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Franke Selke, saw him. The manager wanted him to sign the standard contract for young players, the C form, which required that he joins the team at a set date. His father disagreed, and he signed a B form that allowed him to join the team whenever he decided to go pro.
Jean Beliveau was called to play twice for the Montreal Canadians from 1950 to 1951 and 1952 to 1953. He was allowed to play the minimum number of games an amateur could play in a professional league game. He scored in a game in 1953, but did not show much interest in playing professionally outside of his Quebec Aces QSHL team.
The Montreal Canadiens owners bought the Quebec senior hockey team that Jean Beliveau played for and converted it to a minor professional league, allowing Beliveau to play professionally. This forced Jean Beliveau to join the Canadiens for 1953-1954 season.
He retired from the league in the 1970-1971 NHL season. He was the Habs’ all-time leader in points, second in goals, and the NHL all-time leader in playoff scorer. When he retired, his number four jersey was also retired. He was inducted into the Hockey hall of fame in 1972. He is now the second-highest goal scorer in Canadiens’ history.
Upon his retirement, Béliveau was made the vice president and public relations director of the Canadiens. He was a universally beloved figure in Montreal and in the NHL, and was often referred to as one of the all-time great “gentlemen” of the game.
Achievements and awards
Jean Béliveau retired at the end of the 1970-71 season with 507 goals and 712 assists for 1,219 points in 1,125 NHL regular-season games. He also finished as the NHL’s all-time (at the time) leading playoff scorer, with 79 goals and 97 assists for 176 points in 162 playoff games. His jersey number 4 was retired on October 9, 1971.
In 1972, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is now the second all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history. Only two players played more games for the Habs. His name appears on the Stanley Cup a record seventeen times, including seven times as an executive for the Canadiens.
He also won the Hart Trophy as league most valuable player twice, and finished second in voting another four times. He also won the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer once, finished second twice, and third four times, illustrating his remarkable consistency and scoring ability. The Hockey News named Béliveau the 7th greatest NHL player of all time.
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