Project 365 – Day 75: La Place du Centenaire
March 15 2012
Today’s post is a follow-up to one posted back on February 10 and my promise at the time to revisit La Place du Centenaire (Centennial Plaza), located on rue De La Gauchetière and the corner of De La Montagne outside the Bell Center.
Centennial Plaza was inaugurated on December 4 2008 – one year to the day of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club.
The main feature of the Plaza features four bronze statues, all by Marc André J Fortier, honoring the Canadiens greatest legends: Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, Jean Béliveau, Howie Morenz and Guy Lafleur.
Maurice “The Rocket” Richard (August 4, 1921 – May 27, 2000):
Richard played for the Canadiens between 1942 and 1960 and was the most prolific goal scorer of the era and the first to achieve 50 goals in 50 games and first to score 500 in a career. Richard won the Stanley Cup 8 times. The Rocket was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1961. His #9 jersey number was retired on October 6, 1960
Jean Béliveau (born August 31, 1931:
Played 18 seasons with the Canadiens between 1953 and 1971. During his playing career he won the Stanley Cup 10 times. Béliveau was Inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. He scored 507 goals and had 712 assists for 1,219 points in 1,125 NHL regular-season games plus 79 goals and 97 assists for 176 points in 162 playoff games. After retiring as a player, he became an executive at the Canadiens and won the Stanley Cup a further 7 times, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date. His #4 jersey number was retired on October 9, 1971
Howie Morenz (September 21, 1902 – March 8, 1937):
Considered one of the first stars of the NHL, Morenz played 14 seasons in the league. Morenz was on the Stanley Cup winning team 3 times in his career – all with the Canadiens. Morenz played for the Canadiens between 1923-34 and 36/37. Morenz died from complications of a broken leg he suffered in a game . After his death, the Canadiens retired his jersey number, the first time the team had done so for any player. When the Hockey Hall of Fame opened in 1945, Morenz was one of the original 12 inductees.
Guy Lafleur (born September 20, 1951)
In his 17 year career Lafleur won the Stanley Cup 5 times. In his 14 years with the Habs, Lafleur is the all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history, notching 1,246 points (518 goals and 728 assists). Lafleur was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
In the run up to constructing the Centennial Plaza, fans were invited to purchase commemorative bricks for between 175$ and $400 and have their personal message inscribed on either a 4″x8″ or 8″x8″ brick. The bricks form much of the surface of the plaza. Each fan received a “complimentary” replica brick with their personalized message together with a Certificate of Recognition bearing their brick’s inscription. A portion of the proceeds from brick sales benefitted the Montreal Canadiens Alumni Association. 22,000 fans answered the call and secured their place in part of Canadiens history.
Among the 22,000 fan bricks, there are 100 plaques celebrating 100 major events during the Canadiens 100 year history. The plaques also act as markers for fans wishing to find their inscribed brick – good job someone considered a way for fans to easily find their expensive brick among the 22,000.
In the center of the Plaza is a block with the Habs logo mounted on top. The block is inscribed with the names of all the players who played for the team between 1909 and 2009.
On the east side of the Plaza stand 15 small monuments bearing the numbers and names of players shirts that have been retired.
Lining the west side of the plaza are 24 plaques celebrating each of the Canadiens Stanley Cup trophy wins
Now if only the Canadiens could find their old winning ways again!!!
To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.