Few stars of professional hockey have been as admired, respected, and loved as Jean Beliveau. For close to twenty seasons, Beliveau was Le Gros Bill, "the gentle giant" centreman of the fabled Montreal Canadiens during the glory years of the 1950s and 1960s. Retiring from on-ice action in 1971, he went on to fashion a successful twenty-two-year career both as the Canadiens' senior vice-president of corporate affairs and as a sort of ambassador at large for hockey in general.
Beliveau' s statistical record as a player is an impressive one - 507 goals and 712 assists in 1,125 games, all of them played with Canadiens teams that included such legends as Rocket Richard, Dickie Moore, Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley, and Doug Harvey. At the time of his retirement, Beliveau had 176 points in playoff action -- a National Hockey League record that was surpassed only in 1987, by Wayne Gretzky.
But more than goals and the assists, more than the many awards and trophies he won, more than ten Stanley Cup victories, it was Beliveau' s elegance, intelligence, competitive focus, and aristocrat-like dignity that seemed to incarnate both the best of hockey and the best of the Canadiens' formidable winning tradition.
In 1971, in his final hockey season, the Canadien' s president David Molson proposed a "night'' to honor his career. Jean consented to the event on the condition that he would receive no gifts. Any money involved would be given to charity. In a little over a month over $155,000 was raised, and this was the start of the Jean Beliveau
Foundation. In twenty-two years, without soliciting funds, Jean was able to raise almost $1,500,000 for various charitable good works and the Quebec Society for Disabled Children's summer camp northeast of Joliette.
In addition to assisting various charities, such as La Fondation Charles LeMoyne, Jean has been active in the corporate world, including directorships on as many as eight boards, the Molson Companies, Carena Developments, Dominion Textiles, Ader Leroux, and the Canadian Reinsurance Association among them.
Honored on many occasions, Jean is an Officer of the Order of Canada, has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Moncton, and named to L'Ordre National du Quebec
Jean Beliveau is an outstanding citizen, who embodies the ideals and the spirit which characterized Loyola College. He is a model for us all of integrity and dedication.