Habs Hall of Famer Henri Richard dies at 84

Hall of Fame center Henri Richard, whose 11 Stanley Cups are the most won by any player, has died at age 84.

Richard spent his entire 20-year career with the Montreal Canadiens and played in 10 All-Star Games.

He followed in the footsteps of his brother Maurice “Rocket” Richard, one of the NHL’s most prolific goal scorers, who was 15 years older and 3 inches taller. But Henri, who earned the nickname “The Pocket Rocket,” was better known for setting up goals, twice leading the league in assists.

Maurice Richard, who won eight Stanley Cups in his Hall of Fame career, died in 2000.

Henri Richard twice scored the winning goal in a Canadiens’ Cup-clinching victory. His 11 championships as a player on a North American pro team is matched only by Celtics great Bill Russell.

He was captain of the Canadiens for his final five seasons, had his No. 16 retired by the team and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

Richard finished his career with 358 goals and 688 assists in the regular season. Playing most of his career when the NHL was a six-team league, he added another 49 goals and 80 assists in the playoffs.

“All I ever had in my mind [as a youngster] was playing with the Montreal Canadiens and thinking about playing with my brother Maurice,” Henri said. “I wanted to play hockey because Maurice was playing hockey. But I never said it to anybody. When I was in school, they used to ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I never said, ‘A hockey player.’ I always said, ‘A plumber’ or something like that.”

His dream became reality, when the Canadiens careers of the Richard brothers overlapped for five years in the late 1950s. Nearly 60 years later, in 2017, both were chosen as one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players. A third hockey-playing brother, Claude, had a couple of tryouts with the Canadiens — even playing on a line with his brothers in scrimmages — but never made it to the NHL.

According to the team, Richard is survived by his wife, Lise, his children Michele, Gilles, Denis, Marie-France and Nathalie, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A statement on the Canadiens’ website says: “The family would like to sincerely thank the staff at CHSLD Résidence Riviera for their wonderful care. They demonstrated incredible professionalism and humanity. The family would also like to thank the public for their heartfelt condolences and kindly requests that its privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

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