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Bettman, Canadiens release statements on Beliveau

NHL.com @NHL

The passing of Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau on Tuesday at the age of 83 was met with reaction from throughout the sport.

"No record book can capture, no image can depict, no statue can convey the grandeur of the remarkable Jean Beliveau, whose elegance and skill on the ice earned the admiration of the hockey world while his humility and humanity away from the rink earned the love of fans everywhere," NHL  Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

"Mr. Beliveau was a formidable presence and his departure leaves an immeasurable void. As we grieve that he has left us, we cherish what he gave us: A sport elevated forever by his character, his dignity and his class.

"For all the accomplishments he achieved and all the accolades he received, Jean Beliveau was always the epitome of the boy whose only dream was to play for the Montreal Canadiens. Hockey is better because that dream was realized. The National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Mr. Beliveau's wife, Elise, and Mr. Beliveau's family, to his countless friends around the hockey world, and to his beloved Canadiens, who he always represented with such distinction and grace."

Canadiens president Geoff Molson issued the following statement:

"The Montreal Canadiens organization is extremely moved by Mr. Beliveau's passing away. Like millions of hockey fans who followed the life and the career of Jean Beliveau, the Canadiens today mourn the passing of a man whose contribution to the development of our sport and our society was unmeasurable. Jean Beliveau was a great leader, a gentleman and arguably the greatest ambassador our game has ever known.

"Jean Beliveau was part of the Canadiens family for over six decades. The Canadiens organization will bring all the needed support to the members of Jean Beliveau's family, and will work closely with them to organize the ceremonies that will take place in the coming days. On behalf of the Molson family, and all members of the Canadiens organization, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his beloved wife Elise, his daughter Helene and granddaughters Magalie and Mylene."

Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy started his playing career with the Canadiens, helping them to their two most recent Stanley Cup titles in 1986 and 1993.

"With his extraordinary talent and classy personality, Jean Beliveau not only became a hockey legend, but also a role model who will remain closely and forever linked to both Quebec and Canadian history," Roy said in a statement released by the Avalanche.

"Personally, I will cherish the unbelievable memories of my meetings with him and will remember them forever."

Avalanche vice president and general manager Joe Sakic also released a statement through the team.

"Jean Beliveau is a true legend of the game and always represented the sport with unbelievable class. Our thoughts are with the Beliveau family, his friends, the Montreal Canadiens and everyone he touched during his remarkable life, both on the ice and away from the rink. He was a great ambassador for the game of hockey and will be dearly missed."

Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux shared his thoughts via Twitter:

"Beyond being one of the greatest players in NHL history, Jean Beliveau was class personified. He was a hero to generations of his fellow French Canadians and hockey fans everywhere. Our sport has lost a great ambassador. He will be missed."

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