MONTREAL -- They began lining up hours before Bell Centre would open its doors Sunday, braving cold conditions to make sure they got their chance to pay their respects to the late Jean Beliveau.
The Montreal Canadiens opened Bell Centre to the public Sunday for the first of two days where Beliveau will lay in state after he passed away last Tuesday at age 83.
As the people entered the arena, they were greeted by two massive banners showing the man in his two primary roles over the past 60 years of Canadiens history.
The banner on the right was of Beliveau raising the Stanley Cup, a trophy he won 10 times as a player and another seven times as an executive. A trophy etched with his name more often than any other, and a trophy that was present on this day, sitting just to the right of Beliveau’s casket.
The banner on the left was of an older Beliveau in recent years, holding a torch high above his head, playing his role of Canadiens ambassador, statesman and moral compass, setting the bar for how subsequent players and executives should carry themselves on and off the ice.