Extraordinary Canadians: Maurice Richard
Born in 1921 into a working-class family, Maurice Richard came of age as a French Canadian and an athlete during an era when the majority population of Quebec slumbered. A proud, reticent man, Richard aspired only to score goals and win championships for the Montreal Canadiens. But he represented far more than an explosive forward who filled seats in NHL arenas; Richard’s on-ice ferocity and off-ice dignity echoed the change in Quebec . The March 1955 “Richard Riot” contained the seeds of transformation. And by the time he retired in 1960, Quebec had begun to reinvent itself as a modern, secular society. Charles Foran argues that the province’s passionate identification with Richard’s success and struggles emboldened its people and changed Canada irrevocably.