MONTREAL - He may not have been in the building on the night his No. 5 was raised to the rafters of the Bell Centre, but Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion's legend was never bigger than on March 11, 2006.
"We want to thank the Montreal Canadiens for this unforgettable evening and incredible honor," said Danny Geoffrion, who along with his brother Bobby spoke on behalf of his father during the moving ceremony. "The support your family has shown our family shows why our dad was so proud to wear the Bleu, Blanc Rouge,"
Bernard Geoffrion passed away peacefully early Saturday morning in Atlanta at the age of 75, following his courageous battle with stomach cancer.
"On our dad's first date with mom - at a boxing match at the Montreal Forum of all places - he told her that his number would one day join her father's hanging above the ice at the Forum," said Danny Geoffrion in reference to his mom Marlene, the daughter of Canadiens legend Howie Morenz. "As usual, my dad kept his promise."
Geoffrion, who spent his two final NHL seasons with New York in 1966 and 1968, was also honored by the Rangers on this special night when Jaromir Jagr presented his family with a silver platter. Canadiens president Pierre Boivin then unveiled a Michel Lapense painting that captured the many memorable moments of the Boomer's brilliant career with Montreal.
Geoffrion's No. 5 becomes the ninth retired jersey in Canadiens history, joining Jacques Plante (No.1), Doug Harvey (No. 2), Jean Beliveau (No.4), his father-in-law Howie Morenz (No. 7), Maurice Richard (No.9), Guy Lafleur (No. 10), Henri Richard (No. 16), as well as Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer (No. 12).
"I would have loved for him to see this," said long time teammate and close personal friend Moore, who had his number retired by Montreal on Nov.12. "This meant so much to him and he wanted so badly for this to happen."
In addition to his two sons who spoke on his behalf, Geoffrion was represented by his wife Marlene, daughter Linda, both of his daughters-in-law, his son-in-law and his eight grandchildren. Seven of the Boomer's former teammates were also on hand including, Marcel Bonin, Ã‰mile Bouchard, Phil Goyette, Andr Pronovost, Henri Richard, Dollard St-Laurent, Jean-Guy Talbot and of course Moore.
"It was wonderful to see all of his family here and they will never forget this night," added Moore about the special evening hosted by long time Canadiens play-by-play men Dick Irvin and Richard Garneau. "I just finished thanking Pierre Boivin for the incredible job the Canadiens did tonight."
Moore then couldn't resist addressing his pal personally.
"You did it, Boom. You're here, where you always knew you would be."
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com