Hockey lost a legend Tuesday night with the passing of Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau. The tributes have come pouring in, as the world remembers "Le Gros Bill". Read on for remembrances of one of the all-time greats as the day progresses.
"Beyond being one of the greatest players in NHL history, Jean Beliveau was class personified. He was a hero to generations of his fellow French Canadians and hockey fans everywhere. Our sport has lost an ambassador. He will be missed." - Pittsburgh Penguins owner/legend Mario Lemieux (Official statement)
"With his extraordinary talent and classy personality, Jean Béliveau not only became a hockey legend, but also a role model who will remain closely and forever linked to both Quebec and Canadian history.
Personally, I will cherish the unbelievable memories of my meetings with him and will remember them forever." - Colorado Avalanche head coach and former Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy (Official statement)
"No record book can capture, no image can depict, no statue can convey the grandeur of the remarkable Jean Beliveau, whose elegance and skill on the ice earned the admiration of the hockey world while his humility and humanity away from the rink earned the love of fans everywhere.
Mr. Beliveau was a formidable presence and his departure leaves an immeasurable void. As we grieve that he has left us, we cherish what he gave us: A sport elevated forever by his character, his dignity and his class." - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (Official statement)
"He was the bar for being a Montreal Canadien. He set the standard for everyone else to follow. He’ll always be remembered.
He was the standard for being a great champion. He was a winner and he was a humble winner. He was the benchmark - Carey Price, Canadiens goaltender (via Canadiens official Twitter)
"It is with sadness that I learned of the passing of Jean Béliveau. He was a true legend and a class act. My thoughts are with his family." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper (via Twitter)
“He was a great human being. Put hockey aside & look at what he represents not only in Quebec and Canada, but across the world.
Respect is a word that comes right away when you talk about Mr. Béliveau.”- Marc Bergevin, Canadiens head coach (via Canadiens official Twitter)
"Farewell Mr Béliveau, you were an inspiration for us all. A true gentleman. A role model, one of our greatest Habs, benchmark for "C" #RIP" - Denis Coderre, Montreal Mayor (via Twitter)
"I met Jean Béliveau when I was 10 years old..That's when I knew I wanted to play for the Canadiens -A Hero and Hockey's Captain #RIP" - P.K. Subban, Canadiens defenceman (via Twitter
"Class. Grace. Elegance. Leadership. Skill. Poise. Charm. Dedication. Greatness. Best way to describe Jean Beliveau? All of the above." - Dave Hodge, TSN (via Twitter)
Jean Beliveau posing with young Vincent Lecavalier (who later played Beliveau in the movie The Rocket). #Habs - @NHLHistoryGirl (via Twitter)
"Jean Béliveau is a true legend of the game and always represented the sport with unbelievable class. Our thoughts are with the Béliveau family, his friends, the Montreal Canadiens and everyone he touched during his remarkable life, both on the ice and away from the rink. He was a great ambassador for the game of hockey and will be dearly missed." - Joe Sakic, Avalanche vice president and general manager (Official statement)
"Sad day in the hockey world with the passing of a Mtl legend Mr. Jean Beliveau. He was a role model, idol and the definition of class #RIP" - Josh Gorges, former Canadiens and current Buffalo Sabres defenceman (via Twitter)
"Sad to see such a legend in Jean Béliveau pass away. What a legacy he left behind, pure class." - Matt Duchene, Avalanche forward (via Twitter)
“It is with great sadness to hear that we have lost a hockey legend in Jean Béliveau, a friend I have known for more than four decades. He was a true gentleman and an inspiration to Canadians on and off the ice.
On behalf of everyone at the Canadian Olympic Committee, we send our deepest condolences to his friends, family and the Montreal Canadiens organization.” - Marcel Aubut, President of Canadian Olympic Committee (Official Statement)
"No classier human being has ever laced them up in the 97-year history of the NHL. His talent was all-world, but it was his humble demeanor that will forever be remembered." - Pierre LeBrun, TSN (via ESPN)
"In the night, a beacon of light dimmed...
In the night, a new star lit the sky...
Perhaps one of the great privileges of being at the heart of Montreal Canadiens community initiatives is to be a witness of gestures and words that have such an important bearing on the lives of many. Regardless of age, whether they applauded his prowess and success on the ice up close or from afar, those who had the opportunity to meet Jean Béliveau have only praise and admiration for the person he was... player, captain, administrator, ambassador." - Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation (via Facebook)
"[A] gentleman who will never be replaced." - Dave Stubbs, Montreal Gazette (via Twitter)
"It is a tremendous loss to all associated to the sport of hockey. A true legend on the ice a definition of class to all that looked up to and admired him.
I know Dad held Jean in the highest regard Our condolences to his family from our family." - Mark Howe, Hall-of-Fame defenceman and son of Gordie Howe (Courtesy of TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie)