On Feb. 11, 1971, one of the classiest hockey players to ever grace the NHL with his presence scored his 500th career goal. Jean Beliveau, or “Le Gros Bill” (his nickname based on the hero of a French-Canadian film) slid the puck past Minnesota North Stars rookie Gilles Gilbert for the third time that night, hitting one of hockey’s biggest milestones. At the time, he was only the fourth player in NHL history to ever do so. His 10 Stanley Cup championships (the last one as a player coming just months after his 500th goal), along with seven as an executive of the club, is a record that will likely never fall. Still, there are only 42 NHL players to ever score more than 500 goals.
Not only is Beliveau one of the most highly decorated players of all-time, he’s also one of the classiest. It’s rare for him to not show up to the Bell Centre for Habs games, despite his health declining since the 1990s. He’s always greeted warmly by fans. He’s always put the organization in a positive light. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little more of that now, instead of guys like Sean Avery and Matt Cooke?
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Check out some grainy old footage of the goal. Go Habs Go!
Also, it’d be a shame if I didn’t mention the birthday boy of today: Leslie Nielsen. The famous funny man from Regina would’ve been 87 this year. So dust off your copies of Airplane! and Naked Gun to celebrate his legacy.
Matt Williams is a Winnipeg-based writer and musician infatuated by lady country singers. Follow him on Twitter @WaterInHell.
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