By 1956, when he won the NHL scoring championship and HART TROPHY (most valuable player), he had become the dignified leader of the most powerful team in hockey history. In 18 seasons and 1125 games he scored 507 goals and 1219 points.
Béliveau, JeanJean "Le Gros Bill" Béliveau, hockey player (b at Trois-Rivières, Qué 31 Aug 1931). He learned to skate in the backyard of his home in Victoriaville when his dad gave him his first pair of skates at age 5. He began playing junior hockey at Québec City. Idolized by fans who packed the Colisée de Québec to watch him play, he was nicknamed "Le Gros Bill" after a popular French-Canadian song. Béliveau played 2 more years with Québec Aces, despite the entreaties of the Canadiens. He finally joined the MONTREAL CANADIENS in 1953, signing the most lucrative contract to that time ($100 000 for 5 years).
By 1956, when he won the NHL scoring championship and HART TROPHY (most valuable player), he had become the dignified leader of the most powerful team in hockey history. In 18 seasons and 1125 games he scored 507 goals and 1219 points. In 162 playoff games he scored 79 goals and his record 176 points stood until broken in 1987 by Wayne GRETZKY.
He retired from hockey 1970-71, citing that he wished to give up his place to a younger player but hoping that he had made a great contribution to the game during his career. Indeed, Béliveau has been cited as a perfect role model and one of the game's most gracious players. At the time of his retirement he was the all-time leading scorer for the Canandiens and the all-time leading scorer in STANLEY CUP history. He also made 10 All-Star Teams.
Following retirement Béliveau became a VP of the Canadiens, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. He was elected to the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME in 1972. He was named to the selection committee for the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1994 he was offered the position of Governor General of Canada, the first hockey player to receive the honor, but he turned it down because of family commitments. He was made an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA in 1998.