MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens will honor three of the greatest players in team history during the 2005-06 season by retiring the jerseys of Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer (No. 12) and of Bernard Geoffrion (No. 5).
"We are proud to celebrate the past generations of great Montreal Canadiens whose history and tradition makes us what we are today," said team owner George Gillett. "This is a very proud day for our organization."
This initiative is part of the process leading up to the Canadiens' Centennial, which will be celebrated in grandiose fashion in 2009. More great names from the Canadiens' history will be honored by 2009.
"This announcement is the first of several which we will be making leading up to the celebration of our Centennial in 2009," said Canadiens President Pierre Boivin. "It means so much to have these great players and their families here with us on this special day as we honor the great accomplishments of Bernard Geoffrion, Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer."
The Canadiens will pay tribute to Moore and Cournoyer in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday, November 12, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Geoffrion's tribute will take place on Saturday March 11, prior to the game between the Canadiens and the New York Rangers.
Through the years, the Canadiens have retired the jerseys of seven of their greatest players : Howie Morenz (No. 7, on November 2, 1937), Maurice Richard (No. 9, on October 6, 1960), Jean BÃ©liveau (No. 4, on October 9, 1971), Henri Richard (No. 16, on December 10, 1975), Guy Lafleur (No. 10, on February 16 1985), Doug Harvey (No. 2, on October 26, 1985) and Jacques Plante (No. 1, on October 7, 1995)
Born in Montreal on January 6, 1931, Dickie Moore played for the Canadiens from 1951 to 1963 and was part of six Stanley Cup winning teams. In 654 games with the Canadiens, this all-star left-winger amassed 254 goals and 340 assists, for a total of 594 points.
"I can't tell you what it means for a kid from Park Extension here in Montreal to not only to get the chance to play for the Canadiens but now to have my number retired as well," said Moore. "No words can really express how much this means to me except thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, Mr. Gillett and Mr. Boivin especially."
At the peak of his career, Moore won the Art-Ross Trophy in 1957-58 as well as in 1958-59. His 96 points, including 41 goals in 1958-59, eclipsed Gordie Howe's league record of 95 points set in 1952-53. Moore's record stood until Bobby Hull put up 97 points, seven years later.
In the playoffs, Moore totaled 94 points, including 38 goals, in 112 games. For 15 years, he owned the record for the most points in one playoff game, with six, a feat he established on March 25, 1954, in an 8-1 win over the Boston Bruins.
Dickie Moore, who has become a prominent businessman in the Montreal community, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.
A teammate of Dickie Moore's during the Canadiens' glorious era of the late 1950's, Bernard Geoffrion was born in Montreal on February 14, 1931. This right-winger played for 16 years in the NHL, including 14 with the Canadiens, between 1950 and 1964.
In 766 games with the Canadiens, Geoffrion scored 371 goals and added 388 assists, for a total of 759 points. In the playoffs, Geoffrion piled up 115 points, including 56 goals, in 127 games.
"I couldn't believe it when I got the call from Rejean Houle and he told me the news," said Geoffrion of the Canadiens' alumni president. "I would just like to thank the organization for this incredible honor. I gave my life to the Montreal Canadiens and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat."
Widely recognized as the inventor of the slap shot, which led to his "Boom-Boom" nickname, Geoffrion became the second player in NHL history, after Maurice Richard, to score 50 goals in a season. This feat, which occurred during the 1960-61 campaign, helped him earn the Hart and Art-Ross Trophies.
Geoffrion also won the Art-Ross Trophy in 1954-55, after recording 38 goals and 37 assists. Winner of the Calder Trophy in 1952, Bernard Geoffrion has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup six times. He was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. He now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
As soon as Dickie Moore's career with the Canadiens ended, another future NHL star arrived : Yvan Cournoyer. For 16 seasons with the Canadiens, from 1963 to 1979, this right-winger born in Drummondville on November 22, 1943, contributed to 10 Stanley Cup triumphs. Only Henri Richard has done better in NHL history, with 11.
"It's the dream of every kid who grows up playing street hockey outside to one day play for the Montreal Canadiens," said Cournoyer. "And now to have the honor of my jersey being retired is just the perfect end to that dream. I would just like to thank all my teammates over the years who helped make this possible."
In 968 games with the Canadiens, this speedster aptly nicknamed the "Road Runner", scored 428 goals and collected 435 assists, for a total of 863 points. One of the key players in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, Cournoyer also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1973, thanks to his 15 playoff goals, an NHL record which stood until 1976. Cournoyer, a six-time All-Star, amassed 127 points, including 64 goals, in 147 playoff games.
Cournoyer became the Canadien's 18th captain in 1975 and held the title until the end of his career, in 1979. A Canadiens' Ambassador since 1998, Yvan Cournoyer was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.