Quebecers praise Guy Lafleur, who made them proud

Alexis Belanger Champagne, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Thousands of Quebecers gathered at the Hockey Cathedral on Sunday to pay their final tributes to Guy Lafleur, the man who made them proud thanks to his exploits on the ice and his generosity of ice.

The Bell Center has been converted into a chapel in flames for two days to allow those who wish to bid farewell to a great hockey legend and offer their condolences to the family.

Two large banners surrounded the one usually installed in the heights of the plaza with a number 10 from Lafleur. The Stanley Cup, which Lafleur won five times with the Montreal Canadiens, kicked off against the backdrop of the deceased’s coffin. The Hart, Art Ross, Con-Smith, and Ted Lindsay Awards sat on one side, while the family sat on the other.

Quebec Premier François Legault and Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante were among the first people able to offer their condolences to representatives of Guy LaFleur’s family, including his widow Lise and one of their sons, Martin.

“Everyone was proud that he was a young guy from where he was the best in the National League. Ahem. We come a long way. We’ve been conquered. We sometimes struggle to be winners. With Guy LaFleur, we were winners, we were proud and united,” Mr. Legault said. all”.

Ms. Blunt also emphasized the pride of Quebecers when they spoke of Guy Lafleur.

“His passing is sad, but it will affect many people’s generosity, originality, passion and talent of course,” she added.

empty heart

You could hear a pin drop inside Bell’s center as people walked by.

The Lafleur family took the liberty of posing for a photo when three men in yellow jerseys from the Pee-Wee team passed by in Thurso, Lafleur’s hometown.

People from all over Quebec, and even further afield, have made the journey to meditate in front of the coffin of their idol.

“I couldn’t miss it,” said Gregory Laberge, 55, of Ontario from Denver, Colorado. We grew up on the hope he gave us to conquer the world. It is the end of an era.

“I’m back in Montreal after 30 years in the States and we are all brothers here,” he added with tears in his eyes as he spoke of the people around him queuing to enter the Bell Center.

All generations were also represented.

“It’s good to see,” said Yvonne Lambert, who played for LaFleur. It’s not just about people from the ’60s and ’70s, there are people from the ’90s and 2000s, that’s when you realize the impact Jay LaFleur has had on the public. World, generosity, signatures. Does not make sense “.

Canadian military representatives offered their condolences to the family and spoke of LaFleur’s many visits to troops in Afghanistan.

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan as well as former players Rick Fife, Doug Gilmore and Wendell Clark also came to honor their former competitor.

LaFleur died on April 22 of lung cancer at the age of 70. More than a week later, his passing still hurts former Canadians.

“We have an empty heart, a bleeding heart,” Reagan Hall said. We know we lost a great member of the organization, we made a good organization.

Lafleur followed in the footsteps of Jean Bellevue, himself the heir to Maurice Richard in the history of the great Canadians.

Former Canadian players love to joke about how many Stanley Cup episodes they’ve won. However, they hope LaFleur’s legacy will continue beyond the generation that saw this great hockey man play.

“My grandchildren came earlier. Holly said they are so impressed with what’s happening now. We even wonder what we did in the ’70s to please people. Those who are grieving now remember the memories. It grieves their hearts that our friend Flower is gone.”

The current Canadian players were scheduled to parade at the burning church at the end of the afternoon. However, they were not made available to the media to share their feelings during their visit.

A state funeral will be held on Tuesday at the Basilica-Marie-Rennes-du-Mond-et-Saint-Jacques-le-Major.

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With Virginie Anne, The Canadian Press

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