Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Hall of Fame forward Jean Beliveau, who led the Montreal Canadiens to 10 Stanley Cup Championships, died on Tuesday. He was 83.
"Like millions of hockey fans who followed the life and the career of Jean Beliveau, the Canadiens today mourn the passing of a man whose contribution to the development of our sport and our society was unmeasurable," Canadiens president Geoff Molson said in a statement. "Jean Beliveau was a great leader, a gentleman and arguably the greatest ambassador our game has ever known."
The native of Trois Rivieres, Quebec played with the Canadiens from 1950-71, notching 507 goals and 712 assists in 1,125 games. He also tallied 79 goals and 176 points in 162 playoff contests, retiring as the NHL's all-time leading playoff scorer.
Beliveau ranks second on Montreal's all-time regular season scoring list (1, 219 points), third in goals and second in assists and owns the franchise's record for career playoff points.
He played in 14 NHL All-Star Games, won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP in 1956 and 1964 and was the first recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason's top performer in 1965.
Beliveau won 10 Stanley Cups during his playing career, and added seven more titles as a Canadiens front office executive. He had his name engraved on hockey's most prestigious trophy more than any other person.
The Hockey Hall of Fame made an exception, waiving its three-year waiting period, to induct Beliveau in 1972, a year after he finished playing.
"Jean Beliveau was part of the Canadiens family for over six decades. The Canadiens organization will bring all the needed support to the members of Jean Beliveau's family, and will work closely with them to organize the ceremonies that will take place in the coming days," said Molson. "On behalf of the Molson family, and all members of the Canadiens organization, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his beloved wife Elise, his daughter Helene and granddaughters Magalie and Mylene."
Beliveau battled a multitude of health issues over the final years of his life. He had a cancerous tumor removed from his neck in 2000, recovered from a stroke in 2010 and had cardiac problems.
The hockey star also excelled off the ice. Beliveau started the Jean Beliveau Foundation in 1971, which was later absorbed by the Society for Disabled Children in 1993.
In addition to his achievements on the ice, Beliveau was named a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1988, awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998, added to Canada's Walk of Fame in 2001 and was even offered the political position of Governor General of Canada. He turned the title down to focus on his family.