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Meeting Maurice Richard

This story from my friend Johanna Macdonald Williamson, formerly of Charlottetown and now living in The Pas, Manitoba:

When I was growing up, in the 40's and mostly the 50's, I remember listening to the hockey games on radio, and going to West Kent School or to work at the Experimental Farm Lab, and every morning the staff would be talking about "the game last night" and how great that Richard was (among others -- but the Canadiens were always "the team.") The "Rocket" was of course, the greatest, and all talk would be of his person, and his ability.

Well, in 1989, at this rink in The Pas, the NHL old timers made an exhibition game for charity. We, of course, went early. Stan [Johanna's husband] got caught up in talk with some friends and so I went into the rink alone at ice level, and hardly any one there yet, but --- Mr. Maurice Richard, standing just inside the door.

I couldn't believe my eyes and my heart started to pound. Here was me and Maurice in the rink together, almost alone. I went over to him and held out my hand and said, "Mr. Richard?" He said "Yes," and I held out my hand and said "I am so pleased to see you and to meet you...," goo-goo gaga-gaga, etc. I was absolutely overwhelmed to be standing there, a foot away from that famous face, looking right into his eyes. He gave me this wonderful smile, and then Stan opened the door and come over to us and I said "Oh Stan, come and meet MY FRIEND MAURICE," (can you believe that) and without hesitation, Mr. Richard held out his hand and said, "Well Hello Stan, glad to meet you" - he had such a presence and such class.

I will not forget that, and am still amazed -can you believe that I actually said that? Oh, dear! I am very much thinking of him today and all those memories.

Written Tuesday, May 30, 2000 at 01:08 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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