Montreal Canadiens great Guy Lafleur was remembered fondly on Tuesday during a national funeral for the hockey legend in Montreal. Here are some quotes from those in attendance.
Larry Robinson, ex-Habs defenceman and six-time Stanley Cup winner
"On a day like today, it's like waking up to a bad dream because of the fact he was just taken from us too soon. At the same time, I realize, probably, the pain that he was in for the last little while, nobody should have to live with that pain."
"We played it because we loved the game and that's what I remember most about Guy. Why else would you go to a rink at 4:30 in the afternoon and be dressed ready to go on the ice that soon? Why would you be the first one at practice and go out and shoot pucks for two hours? He loved the game, he loved to compete and he wanted to be the best. Everything that he did, he did with authority."
Jean Perron, head coach of the Montreal Canadiens between 1985-88
“Everybody is passionate about hockey — the journalists, the fans. This passion is in our DNA and it's because of guys like Guy Lafleur."
Jean Charest, Quebec premier between 2003-12
"I had the privilege of giving him the Ordre national du Québec (Quebec's highest honour) in 2005, and I remember a man who was very humble and very reserved, very generous. His life after playing hockey was also something very significant. These heroes we have are heroes not because of just one moment or event in their lifetime, this is a hero because of his whole life and that's something certainly worth a celebration."
Mario Tremblay, former Montreal Canadiens forward and four-time Stanley Cup winner
"At 18, on the bench of the Montreal Canadiens, I used to tell myself we were lucky to see Guy Lafleur every night, to be paid to see that."
Serge Savard, former player and general manager of the Montreal Canadiens; eight-time Stanley Cup winner
“In the last months of his life, he did a fundraiser for the Fondation du CHUM (Université de Montréal hospital centre) and he raised $2 million. His wife told me yesterday that Guy told her, 'It's not me who will benefit from it, but others.'"
Chris Nilan, Montreal Canadiens forward for 10 seasons and Stanley Cup winner
"We lost a great friend and one of the pillars of this organization, and it's good to see all my former teammates and former players who played alongside Guy coming here to support his family and certainly to recognize what a great player and friend he was."
Geoff Molson, Montreal Canadiens owner, president and CEO
"I was lucky as a kid; I got to sit behind the bench and there was no glass there, and to see him whipping up the right wing, I was really young but it was impressive and I used to stare at them sitting on the bench. But for me, the best memories of Guy Lafleur are after he retired, spending time with him in the community and watching him interact with people."
Pierre Mondou, former Montreal Canadiens player and three-time Stanley Cup winner
"On the ice, he was so impressive with his speed and his shot, but what I remember the most about him was he was good guy."
“When I arrived in 1975, there was Yvan Cournoyer on one side (of Guy) and me on the other, and Guy spoke to me as he did with Yvan Cournoyer. Guy was like that. A rookie or a veteran, everyone was equal. He was nice to everyone."
Gaétan Lefebvre, former Montreal Canadiens athletic therapist
"He wore his emotion on his sleeve and would give his shirt away."
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche general manager, former Lafleur teammate in Quebec City
"He was a role model for all of us, we were a young team, he was the veteran but he made everybody feel special. He was such a tremendous guy and he fit right in with us young guys. He was a leader, he led by example, he was on the ice early all the time so you knew when you came to the rink you better get out there as well."
Dominique Perrazino, alias Ménick, from the famous Montreal barbershop Chez Ménick
“He was always ready to help everyone. He always said yes. If there's one word he didn't learn, it's 'no.'"
Quebec Premier François Legault
“He was someone who (spoke frankly) and that's what Quebecers appreciated. He was genuine. He said what he thought, sometimes at the risk of getting into trouble or making enemies. But deep down, everyone loved him because he was a real man."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2022.
The Canadian Press