My Life in HockeyBook - 1994
Few stars of professional hockey have been as admired, respected, and loved as Jean Arthur Beliveau. For close to twenty seasons, Beliveau was le Gros Bill, "the gentle giant" centreman of the fabled Montreal Canadiens during the glory years of the 1950s and 1960s. Retiring from on-ice action in 1971, he went on to fashion a successful twenty-two-year career both as the Canadiens' senior vice-president of corporate affairs and as a sort of ambassador at large for hockey in general. Beliveau's statistical record as a player is an impressive one - 507 goals and 712 assists in 1,125 games, all of them played with Canadiens teams that included such legends as Rocket Richard, Dickie Moore, Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley, and Doug Harvey. At the time of his retirement, Beliveau had 176 points in playoff action - a National Hockey League record that was surpassed only in 1987, by Wayne Gretzky. But more than the goals and the assists, more than the many awards and trophies he won, more than the ten Stanley Cup victories, it was Beliveau's elegance, intelligence, competitive focus, and aristocrat-like dignity that seemed to incarnate both the best of hockey and the best of the Canadiens'formidable winning tradition. My Life in Hockey is the long-awaited first-person story of a remarkable life, proof that great dreams dreamed by those raised in humble circumstances can come true. The eldest of eight children, son of a hard-working Quebecois electrical worker and his devoutly Catholic wife, Beliveau vividly describes here how he was able to parlay his skill in fun-filled backyard shinny games into a highly successful, much-talked-about junior and senior hockey career. Then, in 1953, in one of themost anticipated signings in the history of professional sport, he joined the NHL Montreal Canadiens for what was then the most lucrative salary ever paid a rookie. My Life in Hockey is packed with stories, anecdotes, opinions, tributes. Name the player - Bobby Orr, Boom-Boom Geoffrion, Bobby Hull, Doug Cilmour, Marcel Bonin, Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich - or the coach - Dick Irvin, Sr., Toe Blake, Punch Imlach, Claude Ruel - and Jean BeIiveau has something perceptive, pungent, or personal to say about each. Beliveau is also refreshingly frank about himself. In 1962, during one of his worst seasons, when he felt his "personal fortunes were at their lowest ebb", he went to have a talk with Canadiens owner Senator Hartland Molson. "It wasn't a nervous breakdown", he writes, "or 'burn-out, ' as they call it now, but might have been on the way to that. There was a lot of pressure to perform (and) I was internalizing everything, not sharing my stress with anyone else". For all the awe-inspiring achievements cited on the pages of My Life in Hockey, Beliveau also conveys a genuine humility. "An autobiography", he notes, "can't help but be written in the first-person. However, the 'first-person' was never what my career was about on or off the ice...If they say anything about Jean Arthur Beliveau after he is gone, let them say he was a team man. It is the highest compliment that could be paid him".
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1994
Branch Call Number: 921 BEL
Characteristics: xi, 308 p.,  p. of plates : ill