Battling stomach cancer, Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion was hopeful he'd be present at the ceremony retiring his No. 5, but a series of recent setbacks made the Boomer's hopes of making the trip next to impossible.
MONTREAL - Just over 24 hours before Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion's big night, his sons Bobby and Danny addressed the media about the absence of their ailing father and explained why it meant the world to him to have his two boys be a part of his retired jersey ceremony on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
"Believe me, if it was up to our dad, he would be here with us in Montreal," said Danny Geoffrion of his dad, who is battling cancer back home in Atlanta. "The last thing we wanted to do was leave his side right now, but he told us to be here. His wish was for us to be here for the celebration to represent our family."
Battling stomach cancer, the Canadiens Hall of Famer remained hopeful of being able to attend his eagerly anticipated ceremony, but a series of recent setbacks made the Boomer's hopes of making the trip next to impossible.
"His spirits are good and we can't stress enough how badly he wanted to be a part of this," said Bobby Geoffrion, who was flanked by his brother Danny along with Canadiens Alumni president - and good friend of their dad's - Rejean Houle. "He made it clear to us that we were to be here as a part of a celebration and that's exactly what he wanted it to be-a celebration."
Houle could also vouch for how anxious Geoffrion has been to see his trademark No. 5 raised to the rafters of the Bell Centre.
"He's been calling me every week since he found out that his number was going to be retired," Houle said. "Boomer just wanted to know how the preparations were coming along and he often had other names he wanted to add to his list of guests."
Asked if their dad ever hinted as to what his speech might have been like had he been able to attend on Saturday night, the Geoffrion boys conceded Boom Boom was reluctant to spill the beans.
"He really didn't say much about what he had planned for the podium - anyone who knows my dad could tell you what he would say: 'If you really want to know, buy a ticket!'" said Bobby with a bang-on impression of his dad, cracking up the packed media conference room the way only a Geoffrion could.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com