Joseph-Henri-Maurice Richard, "Rocket," hockey player (b at Montréal 4 Aug 1921; d there May 2000). He was seriously injured in his last 2 years of amateur hockey and his first year (1942-43) with the Montreal Canadiens, but collected 32 goals in his first full season.
Joseph-Henri-Maurice Richard, "Rocket," hockey player (b at Montréal 4 Aug 1921; d there May 2000). He was seriously injured in his last 2 years of amateur hockey and his first year (1942-43) with the Montreal Canadiens, but collected 32 goals in his first full season. In 1944-45 he scored 50 goals in 50 games - long hockey's most celebrated record. Richard's fierce competitiveness and scoring heroics made him the most exciting player of his generation and a national hero among Québecois. He led the league in goals 5 times and won the Hart Trophy in 1947, but the scoring title eluded him. He excelled above all under pressure; in playoffs he scored 3 goals in a game 7 times, 4 goals in a game twice, and in 1944 all 5 goals in a 5-1 triumph over Toronto. He scored 18 playoff game-winning goals, still a record.
Richard possessed a short temper and seldom refused a challenge or left an attack unanswered. In March 1955 he struck Boston Bruin player Hal Laycoe with his stick and attacked a linesman who intervened. His suspension for the rest of the year by NHL president Clarence Campbell was considered an outrage by Montréal fans. Campbell was attacked at the Montréal Forum on St Patrick's Day and the violence spilled into the streets in the worst sports riot in Canadian history. It was indicative of the passionate devotion Richard inspired.
Richard's career ended in 1960 after he suffered a severed Achilles tendon. His 544 goals in regular-season play was an NHL record on his retirement and his 82 goals in Stanley Cup play remained a record until broken by Mike Bossy in 1986. Richard was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, and in a Centennial ceremony was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1967. In February 1999 the NHL unveiled a new trophy, the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, to be awarded annually to the league's highest goal scorer. The first winner was Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.