Canadiens.com caught up with Dickie Moore in the days leading up to his jersey retirement on Nov. 12 at the Bell Centre. Always known for his sharp wit, Moore didn't disappoint when we asked him 12 questions.
Canadiens.com: So tell us, why No. 12?
Dickie Moore: To be honest, it was just an available number the team gave me. I wanted to play for the Canadiens so badly, I would have taken anything.
Canadiens.com: If you could have had your pick, what number would the Canadiens be retiring instead?
DM: I guess if I could have had my choice at the time, I probably would have asked for one of my numbers from junior, 11 or 15. I also wore No. 9 for a while, because for anyone growing up in Montreal, who didn't want to wear the Rocket [Maurice Richard]'s number? Obviously that one wasn't available when I made the team, though.
Canadiens.com: You were hit by a car when you were 12, you played 12 seasons in Montreal, and counting your siblings and parents you're from a family of 12. Did you ever think that maybe you were just meant to wear that number?
DM: Who knows, maybe I was. It just became a lucky number for me. It's the last four digits of my phone number and on my license plate, today. Getting my phone number wasn't easy, either. It was back in the 1960s; I called the number I wanted and made this guy an offer he couldn't refuse: what else, $1,200!
Canadiens.com: Who was the player you most hated to play against?
DM: That's an easy one, the Red Wings' Ted Lindsay. To tell you the truth, I still can't stand him!
Canadiens.com: Did everyone call you Dickie?
DM: Pretty much everyone I knew, except for my parents. They called me Richard, especially my mom when I was about to get it.
Canadiens.com: Who was your biggest inspiration?
DM: My sister Dolly, without a doubt. Dolly was a track and field star and she almost went all the way to the Olympics. She's no longer with us, but Dolly was the real athlete in the family.
Canadiens.com: Were you a superstitious guy in your playing days?
DM: Sometimes I was. My son Richard taped my stick for me once and then I scored a couple of goals that night. I made sure he was right back there before my next game taping my stick exactly the same way.
Canadiens.com: What was it like to play in the Rocket's shadow?
DM: You come to accept it, but besides, who wouldn't want to play alongside the Babe Ruth of hockey? He was such a leader and a great person, but not everyone knows how shy he was. I sat next to him in the dressing room and he didn't say a whole lot. He didn't have to; that look he had said it all.
Canadiens.com: What do you think of the new NHL so far?
DM: I think it's fantastic. It's added so much life to the game. It's great for not only the fans, but for the players too. You can see on their faces that everyone is energized and it really shows on the ice. I mean it's end-to-end action, you'd think it was the playoffs even though it's only November.
Canadiens.com: What about the Canadiens so far in 2005-06?
DM: I'm so proud to see the way they've come out and played with so much energy and enthusiasm this year. No one really expected this and if you ask me, they've sort of caught teams around the league with their pants down. This team can skate and they don't give up no matter what the score is. This is the best group I've seen in a long time.
Canadiens.com: What player impresses you most on the Canadiens' current roster?
DM: I really like Michael Ryder. I think he's got the chance to be a really special player. He caught my eye early on with his quick release and nose for the net. The puck just seems to follow him around and he knows where to plant himself to score goals. This is probably only the beginning for him - there's just something different about goal scorers, and he's got it.
Canadiens.com: You may have retired from hockey after the 1967-68 season, but you certainly haven't slowed down professionally.
DM: I've been working close to seven days a week for as long as I can remember. I even worked while I played for the Canadiens. I did construction on the side. I haven't really slowed down much. Everyone tells me to take it easy and go on vacation, but anytime I go away I either get sick or bored to death. People tell me, 'Hey Dickie, you look great, how do you feel?' What am I supposed to say, that I feel terrible? You just told me I look great, isn't that all that matters?
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.