Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Richard, Henri

Richard, Henri

Following a brilliant amateur career in Montreal with the Nationales and Junior Canadiens, Henri Richard joined the Habs as they began their run of five straight Stanley Cup wins in 1956. In his third year, 1957-58, Richard led the NHL with 52 assists and was placed on the NHL First All-Star Team. When the Habs established a new record with their fifth consecutive Cup in 1960, Richard tied teammate Bernie Geoffrion with 12 post-season points. A key realization for the "Pocket Rocket" was that he wasn't able to be as consistent a goal scorer in the NHL as he'd been in junior.

As it turned out, the end of the dynasty coincided with Richard entering the prime of his career. His excellence on the ice helped Montreal enjoy much success in the 1960s. They won the Stanley Cup in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969 to fall only one championship shy of the miraculous 1950s. On May 5, 1966, Richard notched the biggest goal of his career when he scored the winner at 2:20 of overtime against Detroit to clinch the Habs' second consecutive Stanley Cup.

By the 1970s, Richard's production had slowed, but he remained a wily veteran whose presence in the dressing room helped Montreal stay among the elite teams of the NHL. During the 1971 finals versus Chicago, he showed he could still be an impact player. In the seventh and deciding game of the series, Richard scored the tying and winning goals to sink the Hawks 3-2 and bring Montreal its fifth Stanley Cup in seven years. A few months later, he succeeded Jean Beliveau as the Montreal captain. In the 1973 post-season, Richard made history by helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup. This placed his name in the record books as the only individual to have his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times as a player. Incredibly, he played on a Stanley Cup winner in more than half the seasons he played.

Richard became the ninth player in league history to score 1,000 points during a 2-2 tie in Buffalo on December 20, 1973. He retired after the 1974-75 season with 358 goals and 1,046 points to his credit. Following his last NHL year, he was presented with the Bill Masterton Trophy.

Richard had a relatively easy time adjusting to his retirement. He continued to operate the tavern he owned as a player until he sold it in 1986. He later represented the Montreal Canadiens at public events and worked in the promotions department of Carling O'Keefe breweries. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

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