MONTREAL – Following a successful 15-year career in the NHL, including 11 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, defenseman Francis Bouillon made his retirement official Friday.
For Francis Bouillon, size has never been an issue. He always played big and throughout his career he made sizeable contribution to the success of every team he played with, thanks to a perfect blend of work ethics, commitment and tenacity. A leader on and off the ice, he was the backbone of Michel Therrien’s team when the Granby Predators captured the Memorial Cup back in 1996. Overlooked by all clubs at the NHL Entry Draft, Bouillon was not about to give his dream and began his professional career in the ECHL and moved on to the Quebec Rafales in the IHL the following year before joining Therrien with the Canadiens farm team in Fredericton in 1998-1999.
Bouillon’s NHL career took off in 1999-2000 as a Montreal Canadiens blueliner. On February 6, 2000 he tallied his first NHL goal beating San Jose’s netminder Roman Turek. As a member of the Canadiens defensive core for 11 seasons, Bouillon, who also had two stints with the Nashville Predators, played 581 games (14th among all-time Habs defensemen), recording 24 goals and 93 helpers for a total of 117 points (28th among Canadiens rearguards). Francis Bouillon retired from the NHL with an overall production of 149 points in 776 games. He added 11 more points in 55 NHL playoff games.
A steady performer on the ice, Francis Bouillon was a true NHL player, but he was also an outstanding citizen in the community and a role model to all young hockey players. His hard work, whether on the ice preventing opponents from scoring or away from the rink reaching out to the collectivity, was recognized when he was awarded the Jacques Beauchamp Molson Trophy in 2003-04 as the club’s unsung hero and, in 2006-07, he was the recipient of the Jean Béliveau Award for his involvement in the community.
Admired by the general public and respected by teammates and opponents alike, Francis Bouillon remains a proud member of the Montreal Canadiens family sitting on the Board of directors of the Montreal Canadiens Alumni under the presidency of Réjean Houle.