Tag Archives: Jean Béliveau

Facts and Opinions that matter this week

CCM Tackaberry skates worn by Jean Béliveau when he scored his 500th goal, on February 11, 1971. These are at the lac aux Castors Pavilion, Mount Royal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Simon Pierre Barrette via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

READ: Thank you, Jean Béliveau. Photo of the skates Béliveau wore for his 500th goal by Simon Pierre Barrette via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Facts and Opinions this week features two elegant pieces about people who mattered in the worlds of sports and music: E. Kaye Fulton’s tribute to “glorious gentleman” Jean Béliveau (open), and Brian Brennan’s Brief Encounter with conductor Mario Bernardi, who veered off the beaten path (subscription).

From the academy, don’t miss the essay by economist Warwick Smith, who won a New Philosopher award for The perils of the last human: flaws in modern economics. Our fate is not determined, even by the economy, Smith insists: “The fact that our economic system is a social construct means that we have made a choice, even if an unconscious one, and that we can remake that choice.”

Also from the academy comes a call by John Wright to repair the shattered democracy in some Western countries,  Ideal democracy hears both whispers and shouts.

Rod Mickleburgh marked World AIDS Day with a profile of Julio Montanter, a global leader in the war on HIV/AIDS, and Michael Sasges looked into the history of one of the most popular pieces of season music and the man, John Mason Neale, who popularized O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Canadians of a certain age, and people in dozens of countries helped by her work, will remember humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova, (AKA the “Atomic Mosquito”), profiled on on the 125th anniversary of her birth by Joyce Thierry Llewellyn.

Azerbaijan's Kelaghavi headscarfs are key to Azerbaijan culture. Photo by Retlaw Snellac, Creative Commons

Kelaghavi headscarfs are key to Azerbaijan culture. Photo by Retlaw Snellac, Creative Commons

In reports, we offer a photographic sample  of the cultural ‘intangibles’ UNESCO deems world-class treasures; a crime/science piece about how the cold case of the English King Richard III was solved 529 years after his killing; and a global report on transparency and corruption, in which it seems Nothing is rotten in Denmark.

Facts and Opinions columnists this week turned their attention to the far east and the United States.  Jonathan Manthorpe  nods at Shakespeare with Uneasy lies the head that wears Thailand’s Crown (paywall), and Tom Regan writes on the incendiary issue of police killings, Why the United States is perilous for young men.

We continue our ongoing work on energy and climate change issues, with upcoming stories on a pipeline protest on a British Columbia mountain, a video, and the third in Jim McNiven’s THOUGHTLINES series on oil price changes. Meantime, read Chris Wood’s column From Lima to Burnaby: the ‘Glocal’ Response to Climate (subscription), and drop  by our photo gallery, Pipeline Protest on Burnaby Mountain.

Finally, in case you missed them earlier:

Recent columns include On being a feminist by Tom Regan; Ferguson’s Damned Details, by Deborah Jones; and Jonathan Manthorpe on Zimbabwe, today – The Rise of “Gucci Grace,” Zimbabwe’s “First Shopper — and in Manthorpe’s own past, One man’s thrust for survival in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Electric ink and aromapoetry  feature in Andrew Prescott’s science/arts piece about the much discussed “death of the book;” while Michael Sasges unearthed a research report that casts doubt on the effectiveness of bombing ISIS into submission, reported in  
Verbatim: Bombing to lose; air attacks bolster insurgents.

In arts, fans of the TV series Homeland will appreciate a piece about Carrie Mathison, and mental illness on TV, by Meron Wondemaghen, and an appreciation by Susan Fast: Michael Jackson: Posthuman.  Marguerite Johnson writes on grim fairy tales in Reader beware: the nasty new edition of the Brothers Grimm.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s call to action is worth a second look: F&O’s page includes the transcript and video of the American author’s attack on “ignorance and greed,” and demand for respect for artists in a perilous world in need of writers who “see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being.”

READ: Richard III – case closed, 529 years later. Skeleton of Richard III. University of Leicester photo

READ: Richard III – case closed, 529 years later. Skeleton of Richard III. University of Leicester photo

 

 

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Thank you, Jean Béliveau

Jean Béliveau, ranked as one of the world’s ten greatest hockey players in the Hockey Hall of Fame, died December 2, 2014. This is E. Kaye Fulton’s eulogy to a Canadian who was both an athlete and a gentleman.

E. KAYE FULTON
December, 2014

Jean Béliveau statue at Centre Bell, Montréal. Photo   Jean Gagnon, Creative commons via Wikimedia

Jean Béliveau statue at Centre Bell, Montréal. Photo by Jean Gagnon, Creative Commons via Wikimedia

When I arrived at the Montreal Gazette as a feature writer in 1980, the legendary Red Fisher offered a blanket invitation to write anything I wanted, anytime, for the sports department. Without hesitation, I said: “I want to write about the Forum.”

In my family, the Forum was the Temple of Apollo and the guardian at its gate was the man in the photographed statue, this glorious gentleman, this unassuming and superb sportsman. I didn’t know it at the time but Red made one phone call, the only one needed, to pave the way for me.

“Make her work for it,” Red told Jean Béliveau, then ensconced in the upper management offices of les Canadiens. Magically, every door opened to me, at any hour. I bonded with Doc, an equipment manager for visiting teams, who told me how the Russians demanded their locker room be stocked with extra sticks and chewing gum they’d stuff into their kit bags. I sat alone in a sea of empty floor chairs as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers called out to me for song requests during an afternoon sound-check. I lunched with a normally taciturn Maurice Richard who allowed me to sit on the throne – the centrepiece in Taverne 544/9 on St. Laurent – and then suddenly, as he set his crown on my head, winked. On one of the rare nights the Forum was ‘dark’, I lingered in the reds at midnight and watched in the eerie light as 23 white Stanley Cup pennants wavered like ghosts from their exalted rows in the rafters.

But the highlight of that assignment, the moments I still cannot believe transpired, was the time spent in the presence of the person to whom I owed the most and spoke to the least.

Jean Béliveau refused to see me in his office. Instead, he suggested we talk as he jogged around the top tier of the Forum on his lunch hour, which began at noon and ended, precisely, an hour later. This meant, of course, that I had to jog alongside him, which I did, huffing and puffing and staring bleakly as those long legs elegantly chewed up the distance, one stride to my five. We did this every lunch hour for two weeks. By day three I gave up carrying my tape recorder; all I could hear when I played back the tapes were my groans. By the beginning of week two, we settled into comfortable silence, not great for quote-gathering but something altogether other-worldly in terms of learning what both the man and his fabled place of work were all about.

On one of those runs, I stopped in front of a locked door we had passed innumerable times and asked to see inside. The next day, Béliveau brought keys.

Peering into the gloom with the curiosity of kids, we saw a dozen or more boxes, covered with dust and piled near the back. Inside were woolen jerseys and thick hockey socks edged in the team’s tricolours of bleu-blanc-rouge. By Béliveau’s guess, the boxes had been there, undiscovered, for as many as five decades.

Sitting amid the clutter we’d made, he told stories — not one of them about himself. His stories were about the earliest days of one of North America’s oldest and most enduring sports franchises; and of team-mates he admired for qualities above and beyond pure athleticism, among them one of his mentors, Émile Bouchard, who took up hockey at age 16 on rented skates and who rode 80 kilometres on his bicycle to attend his first training camp.

Though he appeared in only one or two paragraphs of that feature, I now realize that every word I wrote, however awkward or excitable the execution of them, was imbued with the essence of Jean Béliveau. In the years since, the love of hockey and I have parted ways. Three of my family’s most ardent hockey fans are gone; the Forum is no more; and both the game and its players have changed in ways that leave me cold. And now, now we have lost one of our game’s greatest ambassadors, even in his silence the modest, stalwart champion of doing the best you can in life. Today, I’m thinking that, at its heart, the time I spent at his Forum all those years ago wasn’t so much about a place. It was about the thoughtful preservation of history, the importance of continuity, the respect for both institution and individual. He made sure I indeed did ‘work for it’ – then, and still.

Thank you, M. Béliveau. You will be missed.

Copyright E.K. Fulton, 2014

Writer E. Kaye Fulton’s previous essay on Facts and Opinions was Winter Swan

CCM Tackaberry skates worn by Jean Béliveau when he scored his 500th goal, on February 11, 1971. These are at the lac aux Castors Pavilion, Mount Royal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Simon Pierre Barrette via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

CCM Tackaberry skates worn by Jean Béliveau when he scored his 500th goal, on February 11, 1971. These are at the Lac aux Castors Pavilion, Mount Royal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Simon Pierre Barrette via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Further reading:

Jean Béliveau

Jean Béliveau

 Jean Béliveau’s page on Wikipedia 

 

 

If you value journalism, please help sustain us by buying a $1 day pass, or subscription. Facts and Opinions is an online journal of select and first-rate reporting and analysis, in words and images: a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, funded entirely by readers. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.

Subscribe by email to our free FRONTLINES, a blog announcing new works, and the odd small tale. Look for evidence-based reporting in REPORTS; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. Some of our original works are behind a paywall, available with a $1 site day pass, or with a subscription from $2.95/month – $19.95/year

 

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