Skip to main content

Will We Ever See Another Jean Beliveau?

The one thing we have heard time and time again in the past few days is that Jean Beliveau was one hockey's greatest players, but an even greater person. He was pretty much the perfect Canadian. He is someone we should all strive to be, both on and off the ice.

In fact, we've heard it for years. Having be born three years after Beliveau retired, I have heard it all my life. It is an accepted truth, one that you will never find anyone deny.

My question today is - will we ever see another hockey player like him? Will we ever see a superstar hockey player who is an even better person? Will we ever see a hockey player so universally loved work so hard to maintain his place on the pedestal we put him on?

The answer is almost certainly no, because he is a throwback to another time. Wayne Gretzky is the modern equivalent, but he is more rock star or more Hollywood than the regal statesman Beliveau was. And that is largely because times have changed. That's how we view our athletic heroes nowadays - with starry, envious eyes rather than with that same great awe and respect. 

Beliveau was a special person, but by no means is he a product of his time. The great hockey players of the good ol' days - Rocket Richard, Gordie Howe, Doug Harvey, Bobby Hull, Eddie Shore - had their various flaws off the ice. How our all-consuming media covers such indiscretions and how we the public view them have changed.

The truth is the NHL is full of great people to this day. Perhaps we will never see players transcend the whole league like Beliveau did, but in every market we can appreciate hockey stars who strive to make a difference in their communities and charitable endeavors. It is up to us to celebrate them.

Consider that to be Jean Beliveau's greatest legacy in hockey.


Anonymous said…
Reminds one more of Joe DiMaggio than any other athlete; an older time, a different grace, elegance even.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M