I was lucky enough to grow up in Montreal watching the Montreal Canadiens win Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup. In what seems like a simpler time, they represented everything that was great about sport, the pursuit of excellence and class.
I’ve watched the outpouring of emotion and almost beatific honours for the passing of Jean Beliveau and some thoughts come to mind about how his greatness might apply to each and every one of us as we go about our personal and business lives.
Life is about giving back
Dick Irvin, the legendary announcer with the Canadiens stated it succinctly in this interview. Jean Beliveau stopped playing hockey 43 years ago. He’s remembered as much for what he did for charities and giving back as much off the ice as he was on the ice. He raised millions of dollars for all sorts of great causes with no goal other than to give back because he was so privileged to be doing what he loved to do.
‘Class’ isn’t something that you buy
The Canadiens as an organization are steeped in a lore of quality and integrity. Take a look at this interview with George Gillett, former owner of the Montreal Canadiens (and ‘gazillionaire’) talking about the impact that Beliveau had on his family and how the organization goes about honouring members of its family.
It’s the small things that create big impact
Beliveau signed all his tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of autographs clearly and completely. No scribble and no scrawl. Never a ‘no, not now’.
Your leadership impacts everyone around you
While thousands lined up to pay their respects, his wife greeted each and every mourner. She’s in her 80’s and when she needed to take a break they closed the doors. She wanted to personally meet each person who came.
Humility is magical in its power. Take a moment and take a look on YouTube at some of the interviews from anyone who knew, or even knew of him. We can all learn something from this great man from his stellar performances both on and off the ice.