Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Comic Relief or Food for Thought.....You Decide

Ok so it's a copy of one of those emails going around on how to fix the economy, & usually I try to just delete them,however this one I did read & found it kind of funny.........it is Really simplistic ( as all these ideas are) but there may be some merit too them,certainly food for thought , if we could ever get those in power to stop feeding at the public trough long enough to try & fix some things for Canadians (& other countries too) ---Cheers ! LesF

Dear Mr. Harper, Trudeau, Mulcair
Please find below our suggestion for fixing Canada 's economy.
Instead of giving billions of dollars to corporations that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.
 You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan: 
 There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them 1 million dollars each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. 
Ten million job openings -unemployment fixed 
2) They MUST buy a new car. 
Ten million cars ordered -Car Industry fixed 
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - 
Housing Crisis fixed 
4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university - 
Crime rate fixed 
5) They MUST buy $50 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week .....
And there's your money back in duty/tax etc
It can't get any easier than that!
 P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances
 If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know.
How about putting the very elderly pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home..
That way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they'd receive money instead of paying it out.
They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance. Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.
A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell.
They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education.
Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ's and legal aid would be free, on request.
Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.
Each senior could have a PC, a TV, radio and daily phone calls.
There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to. The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay $300.00 per week and with little hope of ever getting out.

       .............Something to think about......lol    Cheers !

Friday, April 17, 2015

2B or Not 2B...................That Was the Question. A Montreal Landmark May Not Have Been

Ahh !  hard to believe that in a religiously dominated province/village/ or whatever(especially 350 years ago) that the cross on the Mtn was ever in question. Here is a story in today's Montreal Gazette...........

Second Draft: The cross on Mount Royal almost never was

Skiers on a trail near the cross on Mont Royal in Montreal, Wednesday, February 4, 2009, shortly after the cross was relit.
PHIL CARPENTER / Montreal Gazette files
Few things proclaim Montreal so unmistakably as the illuminated cross on Mount Royal. It was erected in 1924 by the Société Saint-Jean- Baptiste as a “perpetual monument to the faith of Canada.”
Yet the cross might never have been built had another project for the mountain gone ahead 36 years before.
In April 1888, city council received a petition from prominent Catholics led by Archbishop Édouard-Charles Fabre. It asked that land be set aside at the summit of Mount Royal for a huge statue of the Virgin Mary.
This was not the first time that something monumental had been urged for the mountain. In 1867, French sculptor Louis Rochet proposed that a statue of Jacques Cartier be placed there. City council turned him down. Rochet tried again in 1874, and again was rejected.
That same year on June 24, St-Jean-Baptiste Day, Reverend Alexandre Deschamps preached a sermon in Notre Dame Church calling for a cross on the heights of Mount Royal. It would be a deliberate echo of the far more modest cross that Paul de Maisonneuve, Montreal’s founder, raised on the mountain early in 1643 to thank God for preserving the infant settlement from a disastrous flood. This proposal, too, came to naught, perhaps an ill omen for Archbishop Fabre.
The statue of the Virgin that he wanted would be the work of the distinguished sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert, whose statue of Maisonneuve has stood in Place d’Armes since 1895. Hébert’s Virgin would be colossal, cast in bronze and standing some 60 metres high, twice the height of today’s illuminated cross.
Opposition was not long in coming. The day after the petition landed in council’s lap, the Daily Witness, a newspaper of evangelical and anti-Catholic bent, fiercely denounced the project: “A more offensive proposition than to set up a shrine on the highest spot on the mountain for the purpose of proclaiming the triumphant dominance of one religion could hardly have been devised. … This is clearly forcing a Romish dogma upon the city.”
The following Monday, leading Protestant clergymen and citizens met to discuss the perceived threat. Banker George Hague warned of “strife … like the letting out of waters of which no man would foresee the end.” James Fleck, a Presbyterian minister, “did not see why they should eat humble pie at the feet of the archbishop and his priests.”
Later that day a delegation from the meeting appeared before council to protest the project. William Bond, the Anglican bishop of Montreal, warned that the “peace of the community” would be threatened if it went ahead. Let Catholics find a site for their statue in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, he said, “where they may erect any statue they please without trenching upon the public domain or offending the religious convictions of thousands.”
Rev. Donald MacVicar, principal of the Presbyterian College at McGill University, said the statue would be “extremely offensive” to Protestants and would “practically deprive them of the free and uninterrupted use” of Mount Royal Park.
Unsurprisingly, the project’s supporters quickly struck back. L’Étendard, a fervently Catholic newspaper, scorned the “rage iconoclastique” of certain Protestants and even found a moderate one, a stationer named Walter Street, who thought “a statue to the Mother of Christ very appropriate in the centre of a Catholic people.” The True Witness and Catholic Chronicle, its editorial eye fixed firmly on the statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square, acidly said a host of Montrealers “find a more perfect ideal of womanhood in the mother of Jesus Christ than in the mother of the Prince of Wales.”
Buffeted by the storm, council began to waver. Alderman Jacques Grenier, who had actually presented Archbishop Fabre’s original petition, mentioned a possible legal objection: if the city’s attorney found that council didn’t have the power to grant land for the statue, the project would have to be dropped.
And so it was — for several reasons, historian Alan Gordon notes, not the least of which was that most prosaic of impediments, “the lack of funds.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bet You Danced A Slow One to This Song

I would seriously doubt if anyone out there who knows this song,or was around in those days, didn't love grinding with your favourite gal (or let's face it ,any gal.......lol ) to this song "When a Man Loves a Woman"
Sadly today the man who sang it died   Percy Sledge dead @ 74
 Can you imagine how many people have done the horizontal boogie to this song, never mind dance to it........Cheers ! Percy see ya on the other side.

Soul singer Percy Sledge dies aged 74

Media captionUS soul singer Percy Sledge, famed for his song When a Man Loves a Woman, has died aged 74.
Steve Green from talent agency Artists International Management Inc confirmed to the BBC that he died at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday.
"He was one of my first acts, he was a terrific person and you don't find that in this business very often," said Green. "He was truly a standout."
Sledge had surgery for liver cancer in January 2014 but soon resumed touring.

Percy Sledge
Percy Sledge died at home in Baton Rouge

Sledge's debut single When a Man Loves a Woman reached the top 10 twice in the UK and topped the US Billboard chart for two weeks in 1966, when it also got to number four in the UK chart.
During an interview for the the 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals, he recalled his first recording of it.
"When I came into the studio, I was shaking like a leaf. I was scared," he said, adding that it was the "same melody that I sang when I was out in the fields. I just wailed out in the woods and let the echo come back to me".

'Signed away the rights'

He told BBC Radio 6 Music's Craig Charles in a 2011 interview that he came up with the melody for When A Man Loves A Woman, but signed away the rights of the song to Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, because "I didn't know any better".
"I had the melody in my mind so I gave that song to them," he said, adding they then created the lyrics.
Sledge did not contest the agreement, saying: "I felt like if God fixed it in my mouth to give it to them I won't change anything about it.
"I'm satisfied with what I wrote but I cut my kids out of so much because I gave it to someone else - I just wasn't thinking."
BBC Radio 2 DJ Tony Blackburn was among those paying tribute on Twitter, and said: "Sad to hear that Percy Sledge has died. I wonder how many times I've played When A Man Loves A Woman. RIP."
Musician Bootsy Collins paid tribute on his Facebook page with the words: "Just lost another legend funkateers, Mr Percy Sledge."

Percy Sledge
Sledge performed at his induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in March 2010

Paul Gambacini told the BBC that When a Man Loves a Woman was "one of the all time classic songs".
"This was the essence of soul, dripping with feeling. It never had a time, it was in a world of its own, so it was timeless," he added.
The track reached number two when it was re-released in the UK in 1987 after appearing in Oliver Stone's film Platoon, and was featured in several other films such as The Big Chill, The Crying Game and a 1994 Meg Ryan drama named after the song itself. It was also the soundtrack to a Levis advert in 1987.

'Transcendent moment'

It was the first US number one recorded at Alabama's Muscle Shoals studio, where Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones would later record.
The track also scored a first gold disc for Atlantic Records, whose executive Jerry Wexler called the song "a transcendent moment" and "a holy love hymn."
It remained Sledge's biggest hit and helped sustain a long touring career in the US, Europe and South Africa, averaging 100 performances a year. His other chart successes included Warm and Tender Love, It Tears Me Up and Take Time to Know Her.
The song found new life in 1991 when Michael Bolton's cover of the song topped the Billboard chart.
Before his music career, Sledge worked in the cotton fields around his hometown of Leighton in northwest Alabama, before taking a job as a hospital nurse in the early 1960s.
A patient heard him singing while he worked and recommended him to record producer Quin Ivy.
The singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and was a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife and children.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I Didn't Remember this-Did You ? & With a Verdun Maples Leafs Team at That

Although I don't recall this incident,especially since it involved the Verdun Maple Leafs (albeit a '74 version of the team) I used to watch them at the Verdun Auditorium in the 60's & they were great also produced some very big future NHL stars. but a kicking incident like this was just a no-no ,at least where we all came from. However over the years I seem to think there were others usually involving the Russians, didn't even Pavel take a boot at someone & that was years later maybe decades. Anyway I thought it may be of interest to some of you,if not for nostalgia sake alone, also if you click on te pages 'home' button at the bottom of the article it will bring you to a summary of the 1972 Summit Series........was there anything more exciting than that .......


here's the article:

Russians Suspended For Life After Hockey BrawlVancouver Sun, March 14, 1974
Montreal (CP) - A promising young Russian hockey player has been suspended for life and two coaches for a year each as a result of a brawl involving the Canadian midget hockey champions.
Reports of the suspensions, imposed by the Central Red Army Sports Club, were carried by Montreal newspapers today. The writers were in the Soviet Union accompanying the Verdun Maple Leafs. The midget team has been on tour playing games against top Soviet teams in several locations.
The Montreal Star and the French-language dailies, La Presse and Montreal-Matin, all reported that co-coaches Anatoly Firsov and Anatoly Galamosov have been suspended for one year.
The Star further reported that Viktor Ovaskin, who had all the qualifications to make future Russian national teams, has been suspended for life for kicking Verdun's John Bethel during the second game of the series.
Last Friday, during that game, one of the most serious brawls in the history of international hockey competition occurred and apparently the Soviet Union frowns on this type of incident.
Firsov is a former star forward with several world champion Russian teams and also was a member of the Soviet Union's gold medal Olympic Squad.
When the Verdun team returned to Moscow from Riga Wednesday, it was by Col. Dimitri Goulevich, one of the top officials of the Central Red Army Sports Club. he Russian official held a short meeting with Brian McKeown, the chef-de-mission of the Verdun team.
The Russian official told McKeown that he apologized for the incident and that the decision to suspend the two coaches and Ovaskin had been made last Saturday.
We as your hosts are very ashamed this happened to our guests; never before has there been an incident like this in the Soviet Union."
McKeown asked Goulevich why such action had been take and was told: "There's a great deal of pride at the Central Red Army Sports Club and, when something like this occurs, our image as a whole is affected. Also it isn't a good thing for the Soviet Union. 
McKeown was reported to have told the colonel he felt "very badly" and Goulevich told him not to.
"We jumped the gun when we thought they didn't regard kicking as seriously as we do in Canada," McKeown said. "Their rule also calls for automatic disqualification."
The incident occurred when a fight broke out near the penalty box and when the Verdun player gained the upper hand, Ovaskin, who was already in the penalty box serving a major, jumped out and went to his team-mate's rescue.
Both players benches cleared and a real fight ensued.
When order was restored, Bethel was found to have a gash over his eye from a kick administered by Ovaskin and Jim Mann had a large welt on his stomach from another kick.
The Central Red Army Sports Club had a video tape of the game and, while the film did not reveal who kicked Mann, it was clear Ovaskin was the player who kicked Bethel.
"There's no excuse for players to kick with skates," Goulevich said.
"As far as we are concerned the coaches are responsible for the control of every player and our coaches lost control."
McKeown reportedly feels that both teams share the responsibility.
"We must share the responsibility. Two wrongs don't make a right. Our player was first off the bench and if their coaches lost control, so did ours."

Monday, April 6, 2015

Verdun Boy Dollard StLaurent Dies @ 85

Another grreat ex-Hab has passed away, Verdun boy Dollard St.Laurent ,won a few cups in his day, I also seem to remember him having an office inVerdun on Wellington I think it was right on a corner .didn't he have an insurance business or soemething like that ? I also have a vague (really vague) recollection that he once moved his office into the old weight lifting joint at Desmarchais & Wellington which in itself had some famous people work out there (may be Reeves ??) anyway if I'm remember correctly Dollard had an office on the corner of Argyle / Melrose/ ? & Wellington ST. & may hav e later on moved to Desmarchais & took over the defunct weight gym , what was the gym called, it had a big sign ,was it Gold's Gym or is that too easy a guess.......lol 
Anyway back to this story, it looks like if the Ghosts of the Forum who it was said 'guided & helped' the Habs win Stanley Cups , but Never liked to leave the Forum,cause they have never showed up at the Molson/ Bell Centre ,at least not yet,but it seems that they might be assembling an allstar team of ex-Habs greats who know where the Bell Centre is & maybe can guide the present day version of the Habs to winning ways again & maybe start a new tradition in the new building. Just in the last number of years the ghost team has acquired the likes of Maurice Richard/ Jean Beliveau/ Elmer Lach / & now Dollard St.Laurent......among others I can't recall right now, so maybe just maybe this new Habs Spirit Filled line up will turn the tide for Montreal & guide them to Lord Stanley's Mug before too long. Afterall it has been since 1993 that Montreal raised the hardware in Victory & that is just way too long 22 years is ridiculous Imagine over two decades without a Stanley Cup is blasphemy in Montreal & needs to be dealt with.......Now guys let's "get this party started"...................Cheers ! LesF now here's the Gazette article below:

Former Canadiens, Blackhawks defenceman Dollard St. Laurent dead at 85

Former Montreal Canadien and Chicago Black Hawk Dollard St. Laurent at his Lasalle home May 27, 2010.
John Kenney / Montreal Gazette
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Dollard St. Laurent, who won five Stanley Cups as a defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks, has died, the Canadiens announced Monday. He was 85.
The announcement came only two days after the passing of 97-year-old former Canadiens star Elmer Lach.
St. Laurent played eight seasons for Montreal in the 1950s, winning Stanley Cups in 1953, 1956, 1957 and 1958 before he was traded to the Blackhawks on June 3, 1958 for cash and future considerations. He won a Cup in Chicago in 1961.
The Verdun native had 29 goals and 133 assists in 652 games over 12 NHL campaigns. He had another two goals and 22 assists in 92 playoff games.
Former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Dollard St. Laurent (right), a dependable, stay-at-home rearguard who won four  Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and one more with the Chicago Black  Hawks.
Former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Dollard St. Laurent (right), a dependable, stay-at-home rearguard who won four Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and one more with the Chicago Black Hawks.
2001 SNOWBOUND, ALL RIGHTS RESER / Montreal Gazette
The stay-at-home defenceman made his NHL debut with three games in 1951-52 before becoming a regular on a powerhouse Montreal team. But the five-foot-11 180-pound rearguard was dealt away before they completed their run of five straight Cups from 1956 to 1960.
He was steadying influence at the back for a rising young Blackhawks squad that ended a 23-year Cup drought.
After the 1961-62 season, St. Laurent was sent to the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League, where he broke a leg and then retired at the end of the season.
He was the fifth former Canadien to pass away in recent months, after defenceman Carol Vadnais in August, legendary captain Jean Beliveau in December, former coach Claude Ruel in February and Lach.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Elmer Lach passes away @ 97 years of age

The Gazette has a very insightful article about Elmer Lach in today's edition. I will post the entire article just below this brief bit of adlib by me.LesF 
Of course he was part of the famous "Punch Line" of the 1940's & 50's version of the Habs 
Quite an interesting guy,who never sought the spotlight & to quote a line from the article met his celebrity status with a 'shrug' ............sounds like kept things all in perspective. & stayed really down to earth,       ......well see you Elmer  ,now your back with your old buddies.

Dave Stubbs: Canadiens legend Elmer Lach dies at age 97

Montreal Canadiens legend Elmer Lach stands at a goal net on a Pointe-Claire rink near his home on his 92nd birthday in 2010.
Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

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Canadiens icon Elmer Lach, the nearly indestructible centreman for Maurice (Rocket) Richard and Toe Blake on his team’s magnificent 1940s Punch Line, died Saturday morning at the West Island Palliative Care Residence in Kirkland following a stroke suffered last Saturday, March 28 at his Beaconsfield care home.

Lach was two months past his 97th birthday, at the time of his death the oldest living member of the Canadiens and senior-most member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Lach’s passing was the second enormous loss to the Canadiens and the team’s extended family in less than four months, legendary former captain Jean Béliveau having died on Dec. 2 following a lengthy illness.
Born Jan. 22, 1918 in tiny Nokomis, Sask., just 57 days after the creation of the National Hockey League, Lach was the least well-known and the last surviving member of the legendary Punch Line.
The trio was put together on a hunch in the early 1940s by Canadiens head coach Dick Irvin and quickly terrorized the opposition as the most fearsome line of the decade until a broken ankle forced Blake’s retirement in 1948.
During his National Hockey League playing days from 1940-54 – the Canadiens were his only team – and for 50 years after his retirement from the game, Lach spoke virtually nothing of himself.
Instead, he deflected all credit for the Punch Line’s stunning success to his incandescent right-winger, the Rocket, and to the industrious Blake, who patrolled the left side.

The Canadiens' magnificent 1940s Punch Line. From left: right-wing Maurice (Rocket) Richard, centreman Elmer Lach, left-wing Toe Blake. This is the unretouched image that Lach had in his home, the only Punch Line photo he owned.
The Canadiens’ magnificent 1940s Punch Line. From left: right-wing Maurice (Rocket) Richard, centreman Elmer Lach, left-wing Toe Blake. This is the unretouched image that Lach had in his home, the only Punch Line photo he owned.
Elmer Lach Collection
But Elegant Elmer, as he was sometimes called by Irvin, was a brilliant talent in his own right, and often it was by his playing a little off-centre, dragging checkers out of the slot and bulldogging them in the corners, that so much ice was opened for Richard to weave his goal-scoring magic.
Lach won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 1944-45, leading the league that season in assists, with 54, and points, with 80. He also captured the inaugural 1947-48 Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top point-scorer with 61 points, on his career high of 30 goals with 31 assists.
Lach also topped the NHL in points in 1944-45 with 80; that was seven points clear of No. 2 Rocket Richard, three seasons before the Ross trophy was introduced.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, having scored 215 goals with 408 assists and 478 penalty minutes in his 664 regular-season games. In 76 playoff contests, he scored 19 times and added 45 assists.
On Dec. 4, 2009, during festivities for the Canadiens centennial game, the Habs retired his No. 16 jersey and pulled a banner bearing his name to the rafters of the Bell Centre.
Lach’s durability and pain threshold were beyond compare, returning to action from a shopping list of gruesome injuries that had earned him another nickname: Lach the Unlucky.
They included a nose shattered seven times; a jaw (later permanently wired) officially broken twice but, in reality, three times – he didn’t tell Irvin of one fracture lest he be scratched from a game; a fractured skull that at first was treated as a “slight concussion”; and two severed veins in a foot from the slash of a skate blade, an injury with which he played until a teammate saw the blood.

Elmer Lach at home in Pointe-Claire in 2007, displaying conflicting headlines in Montreal newspapers that appeared a day apart in 1947.
Elmer Lach at home in Pointe-Claire in 2007, displaying conflicting headlines in Montreal newspapers that appeared a day apart in 1947.
Dave Stubbs / Montreal Gazette
In a 1950 Saturday Evening Post profile, sportswriter Trent Frayne described Lach as “less polished than persistent, less artistic than artisan, less incomparable than inexorable.”
Ted Reeve, curator of the Hall of Fame in the 1950s, suggested that if a pictorial record was to be made of the 1940s NHL, Lach’s X-rays would be a necessary part of it.
Lach remained largely injury-free in retirement until about a decade ago. He suffered a double ankle fracture while shovelling his back deck in 2005 and then a broken hip in a tumble in 2011, which he said at the time was more painful than any of his “flesh wounds” in hockey.
Lach’s final public appearance was last Dec. 10, at the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral funeral of Jean Béliveau, his friend and, in some ways, his protégé. Lach had taken the highly touted rookie Béliveau under his wing in 1953-54, then retired at season’s end.
And it was Lach’s name that was the first Canadiens autograph the teenaged Béliveau ever collected, a signature penned in Trois-Rivières during a barnstorming Habs tour of rural Quebec.
Béliveau was hugely influenced by Lach early in his glorious career. In his 1994 autobiography My Life in Hockey, he wrote of how Lach mentored him in the art of faceoffs. And Béliveau wrote glowingly of Lach’s passing skills, something from which the Rocket had benefitted:
“Elmer was … one of the finest passers in the league,” Béliveau wrote. “He could give you a quick, soft pass that would nestle on your stick; it just seemed to settle on the blade without a bounce. In addition, he was a very smooth and shifty skater. Although his shot wasn’t particularly heavy, his quick release made him dangerous. He would use a defenceman to screen the goalie, especially when he got to within 15 or 20 feet of the net. If Maurice and Toe were covered, Elmer could take the netminder by surprise. If a goalie tried to look around his defenceman for Elmer’s shot, that wonderful passing ability would come into play and one of the wingers would find himself with an easy score after the puck appeared as if by magic on his blade. I knew I would have a long career in the NHL if I could learn to pass half as well as Elmer.”
Lach leaves to mourn his stepdaughters Michèle and Denise Morel, as well Denise’s son, Marc.
He had lost Lise, his wife of 29 years, to leukemia just last October. His first wife, Kay, was claimed by cancer.
As per his wishes, there will be no funeral nor memorial service, though generous tributes to this humble superstar will be forthcoming from the hockey community.

I grew close to Elmer Lach in the past decade, writing many stories about this hardrock centreman with an iron-grip handshake and a butter-soft heart.
Each feature followed a visit to his home. I relished every story I coaxed out of him, having researched events big and small in his life, Elmer more than filling in the blanks.

Elmer Lach's Stanley Cup tribute ring that he had made many years after he retired. Photographed on his hand in August 2014.
Elmer Lach’s Stanley Cup tribute ring that he had made many years after he retired. Photographed on his hand in August 2014.
Dave Stubbs / Montreal Gazette
And there was nothing finer than hearing his tales about the characters in the vintage hockey photos I brought to him, images of a simpler time in the game that he adored to the very end.
Teammates, to him, were wonderful guys without exception; more than one opponent, he would laugh, was a “son of a (gun) who used his stick like a sabre. But I never minded a swordfight.”
Where Jean Béliveau was my idol, my time in the company of Le Gros Bill forever spent pinching myself, Elmer was my friend – an unassuming, entirely lovable bear of a man who met his superstar status with a shrug.
Elmer’s humility was such that he told me on an early visit to his home that he didn’t believe he had any photos of the Punch Line on Forum ice as a group.
“That’s impossible,” I told him, as he invited me to go look for myself.
I eventually found just one – in a dusty frame, a small spider having expired behind its cracked glass, this sepia masterpiece shrouded by the unfinished basement’s hot-water heater, near a shelf of steel wool and construction nails.
I smuggled it out of his house that day, restored the photo digitally and archived it, reframed it, then returned it to him on the condition that he hang it in a better place. He did.
Over lunch at his care home in December 2013, a month before his 96th birthday, Elmer told me that he fondly recalled his 1938-39 season with the Weyburn Beavers, two seasons before he came east from Saskatchewan to the Canadiens.
The prairie town was famous almost a century ago for its psychiatric hospital that pioneered lobotomies and electroshock therapy.
“Do you think,” he said that day as he considered his remarkable life, a mischievous grin lighting up his broad, puck- and stick-scarred face, “that I should have checked in?”
Fans are invited to email their condolences and wishes to Lach’s family care of me, with Elmer Lach in the subject line, at dstubbs@montrealgazette.com
What follows is my first feature profile of Elmer. It was published almost precisely a decade ago.

Canadiens icon Elmer Lach with his wife, Lise, and the Stanley Cup, which he won three times, photographed in the Habs' Bell Centre dressing room on the occasion of the team's 2009 centennial.
Canadiens icon Elmer Lach with his wife, Lise, and the Stanley Cup, which he won three times, photographed in the Habs’ Bell Centre dressing room on the occasion of the team’s 2009 centennial.
Courtesy Bob Fisher
Published March 26, 2005, Montreal Gazette

It seems right, somehow, that Elmer Lach is in a wheelchair when he greets you with a broad smile and a strong grip.

Lach the Unlucky, as he was known for much of his glorious 14-year Canadiens career, is nursing an ankle he broke 11 weeks ago while scraping ice on his back porch. But it will take more than this to keep him off the fairways of Summerlea come golf season; at 87, he expects to shoot his age, or better.
To his coach, Dick Irvin, Lach was Elegant Elmer. To others, the three-time Stanley Cup winner was the Nokomis Flash, named for the swift skates he brought from his Saskatchewan hometown.
Later, his longtime friend Red Storey would call him Scratch, Lach said, “because I’d whip the ass off him on the golf course.”
To Canadiens wingers Maurice (Rocket) Richard and Toe Blake, he was one-third of the magnificent wartime Punch Line, the 5-foot-9 bulldozer who cleared the lanes, traded elbows in the corners and passed the puck as though it had eyes for the Rocket’s stick.
Lach (pronounced lock) was the humble workhorse on the dominant line of its era, a player who seldom got the attention or credit he deserved.
In 1944-45, the season Richard scored his historic 50 goals in 50 games, Lach won the NHL’s point-scoring championship – three years before the Art Ross Trophy was introduced – and the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.
He won the Art Ross in 1948, and would retire six years later as the NHL’s all-time assists leader.

A 1940s cartoon/caricature of Canadiens' Elmer Lach.
A 1940s cartoon/caricature of Canadiens’ Elmer Lach. This hung on his kitchen wall for years.
Lach remains modest to a fault, few reminders of his Hall of Fame career displayed in his Pointe-Claire home. It’s in the laundry room that you’ll find his museum-worthy photographs.
Soon, he will warm to conversation about the Punch Line. But for now, he’s talking about the sound of his breaking bones.
Lach sees the double ankle fracture, his first serious nick since he retired from hockey in 1954, as just another inconvenience, merely one more injury for an inventory that’s as frightening as it is impressive, in a macabre way.
Almost 60 years after the fact, he still chuckles about a doctor’s hands wrapped around his neck in an emergency room.
It was Feb. 6, 1947, and Lach had been wheeled into Montreal’s Western General Hospital. A half-hour earlier, he had been savagely checked by Toronto’s Don Metz, his unhelmeted head almost cracking the Forum ice.
“A specialist came in, put his hands around my neck, gave me a few hard shakes and said: ‘Do you feel anything?’ ” he recalls, laughing. “When I told him I didn’t, he said: ‘Well then, there’s nothing wrong with you.’
“The next day, X-rays showed them I had a fractured skull.”
From which Lach recovered to win the NHL scoring title the following year.
The skull story has set the table for another thigh-slapper, a story about his first game of the 1941-42 season, his second with the Canadiens.
Lach was racing to the Detroit net when he was tripped by the Red Wings’ Alex Motter, which sent him at full flight into the boards.
Extending his left arm quite literally broke his fall – he shattered his wrist, tore up his elbow and dislocated his shoulder.
“Honestly? I thought my career was over,” Lach says.

Canadiens' Elmer Lach, in 1953 and 2014.
Canadiens’ Elmer Lach, in 1953 and 2014.
He missed the entire season as he healed, doctors figuring the elbow would mend on its own. For six months, it had all the flexibility of a hockey stick.
“I’d go out to dinner, cut some meat, bring the fork up in my left hand,” he says, demonstrating, “then stick it in my ear.”
He relates how doctors told him that in July they’d have to rebreak and reset the elbow, then distracted him and kicked the joint to shatter it again.
Lach rolls up his sleeve to reveal the ragged scar, a reminder of where the bone fragments were finally trowelled out. Then he rattles off a career list, in no particular order:
• Nose broken seven times, “mostly because I skated crouched over the puck.
“The first time was in my rookie year,” Lach says. “I went around big Chicago defenceman Earl Siebert a couple times and told him: ‘You old bastard, you’re too old to catch me.’
“Well, he caught me. Caught my nose with his elbow. They tinkered with it in the hospital the next day.”
(It was rearranged for the final time, and most famously, in 1953, when he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime and the Rocket leaped into Lach’s arms, smashing his forehead into his nose.)
• Jaw broken, reportedly twice but, in fact, three times. He didn’t tell Irvin once for fear he wouldn’t be allowed to play. The jawbone is now permanently wired.
• Cheekbone shattered, twice.
• Foot sliced open with a skate, severing two veins.
• Leg fractured.
• Stitches uncounted, but in the hundreds.

Only when a teammate saw the blood did Elmer Lach stop skating, two veins sliced in his foot by another player's skate.
Only when a teammate saw the blood did Elmer Lach stop skating, two veins sliced in his foot by another player’s skate.
Montreal Gazette files
In 1950, Toronto Telegram sportswriter Trent Frayne introduced Lach to Americans in a Saturday Evening Post profile, accurately headlined: “You Can’t Kill A Hockey Player.”
Today, Lach sees nothing remarkable about his durability, nor how he constantly rebounded from career-, even life-threatening injuries.
“We recovered quickly,” he says of himself and those of his day. “We were in good physical condition, and there was always a guy waiting for your job.”
Not that many had Lach’s skill, work ethic or pain threshold. His contribution to the club was recognized two years before he retired, the Canadiens and their fans holding a special Elmer Lach Night at the Forum. He was showered with $10,000 in gifts, the largest tribute paid to a Montreal athlete to that time.
Lach had arrived at the Canadiens training camp in October 1940 on a train from Moose Jaw, Sask., where he was starring for the senior-league Millers. With him were Ken Reardon, Jack Adams and Joe Benoit, who would be among nine rookies to make Montreal’s roster that fall.
This wasn’t Lach’s first exposure to the NHL. A few years earlier, he’d been invited to the Winnipeg camp of the New York Rangers, who were so tight with a dollar that they told him to arrive with his skates sharpened.
Moose Jaw’s coach, Art Somers, had played four seasons with New York and knew of the club’s shallow pockets. Lach heeded Somers’s advice to stay home.
In those days, amateur players never knew who owned their negotiation rights. Lach was later invited to skate for Boston, but declined that offer, as well.
But in 1937, he and future Hall of Famer Doug Bentley were scouted by Toronto. They arrived by train, both weighing barely 150 pounds, and plunked themselves down in the dressing room on either side of hulking winger Charlie Conacher.
Lach recalls Conn Smythe, the intimidating Leafs boss, striding loudly into the room with: “They were sending me big guys from the West, but instead they’ve sent me peanuts.”
The players passed on an offer of $1,500 for a season of senior hockey, jumping a train home even after the Leafs’ King Clancy suggested they take the gruff Smythe with a grain of salt.
“King would become one of my best friends,” Lach says. “Later, when he was refereeing, if I was caught up ice on a play and he was near me, he’d say, ‘C’mon, Elmer, I’ll race you to the other end.’ ”
Lach hadn’t played organized hockey until he was almost 17, suiting up one season with the junior Regina Abbots.
“The fellow who picked me up at the train in Regina asked me: ‘Where’s all your luggage?’ ” he recalls. “I told him: ‘It’s in my back pocket: a handkerchief and a toothbrush.’ ”
The youngest of William and Mary-Ann Lach’s two sons and four daughters, he had learned to skate on a pond outside his home in Nokomis (population 600), borrowing a neighbour’s blades on the days they weren’t being used.

Canadiens legends Elmer Lach (left) and Émile (Butch) Bouchard are honoured by having their numbers retired during the the Habs' centennial game celebrations on Dec. 4, 2009 at the Bell Centre.
Canadiens legends Elmer Lach (left) and Émile (Butch) Bouchard are honoured by having their numbers retired during the the Habs’ centennial game celebrations on Dec. 4, 2009 at the Bell Centre. Behind them are defenceman Ryan O’Byrne (left), who switched from Bouchard’s No. 3 to No. 20 that night, and Bouchard’s son, Pierre, a former Habs defenceman.
Richard Wolowicz / NHLI via Getty Images
He graduated from Regina to the senior Weyburn Beavers, a catcher for the town’s baseball team in summer and centreman for their hockey club in winter – room, board and laundry paid.
Lach moved on to Moose Jaw, winning a scoring title and advancing to a provincial final in two seasons, and it was here that he caught the eye of Paul Haynes, an injured Canadien sent west on a scouting mission.
Millers owner Cliff Henderson urged Lach to go. He figured his star would return in better shape, Moose Jaw lacking artificial ice and unable to train until the local creek had frozen over.
But Lach, 22, would not be back, agreeing to a 1940 contract of $4,000, plus a $1,000 signing bonus, for his first season with the rebuilding Canadiens. This would be his salary for his first seven years; his career high was $22,000, including bonuses.
He had seven goals and 14 assists in 43 games, a rookie centring Tony Demers and Adams, but was more impressive for his rugged play. Lach says he took one suture for each of his points.
He was sidelined the following season with his shattered elbow, then was inserted in 1942-43 between the veteran Toe Blake and a promising rookie named Maurice Richard, who broke his ankle after only 16 games.
Right-winger Benoit was plugged into Richard’s spot and the trio clicked, hailed in Montreal newspaper cartoons as the Punch Line for its potency, the players’ caricatures shown with drawings of a clenched fist.
Such a cartoon is pasted into one of Lach’s three brittle scrapbooks, which he hasn’t opened in 50 years.
The Rocket was back in 1943-44, and he, Lach and Blake assumed the Punch Line label. They led the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup in 13 seasons that year, and another championship in 1945-46.
These three men had unique skills that perfectly complemented each other: Richard was the short-fused stick of dynamite with a gift for finding the back of the net; Lach, the tireless, indestructible playmaker and ice general; the veteran Blake, a superb positional player who anchored his teammates.

A close shave for Habs' Elmer Lach, in 1946 and in 2011.
A close shave in two different hospitals for Habs’ Elmer Lach, in 1946 and in 2011.
Montreal Gazette
“We were just a line,” Lach says in stunning understatement. “I didn’t sense anything special when Irvin put us together in practice. As a group, we were good. Individually, we were just average hockey players.”
So average that in 1944-45, Lach, Richard and Blake finished 1-2-3 in NHL scoring.
“There wasn’t too much conversation off the ice. But on the ice, we covered each other, helped each other. When I’d go in to forecheck, I’d wave my hand at the Rocket so he’d cover his wing.
“It’s how we were taught. We were always a little ahead of Toe because he was the slowest skater. But he got there. I often concentrated more on the Rocket, but I knew where Toe was. Always.
“I was a team player. In practices, with no goalkeeper, the Rocket and I would go down the ice and even if I had a shot at an empty goal, I’d pass it to him and he’d whack it in the net.”
Overnight train rides around the six-team NHL were memorable, if costly. Lach recalls Richard rounding up the shoes of sleeping teammates, filling them with water and putting them between the rail cars, turning brogues into blocks of ice.
“Rocket, Murph Chamberlain, Jack Portland, Ray Getliffe – they were all comedians,” he says. “If you ever fell asleep with your shoes on, you’d wake up with a hotfoot.”
It was wartime, and Lach, like others, held war-related jobs during the day while playing for the Canadiens at night. He worked at Pratt & Whitney and Noorduyn Aviation, on the assembly line by 7 a.m., allowed to go home after a six-hour shift for a pre-game steak and a nap.
But Lach left the game at the rink, if not the hospital. In 1941 he had married his Moose Jaw sweetheart, Kay Fletcher, who four years later delivered their only child, Ron, while Lach was playing in Detroit. His telegram read like she’d scored a winning goal: “Nice going, honey,” he wired.
“No matter whether I played good or lousy, it wasn’t discussed,” Lach says. “Think about all the times I was hurt – Kay and I would go to the rink together and she’d come home alone. It wasn’t easy.”
Young left-winger Dickie Moore eventually joined Lach and Richard when a broken leg forced Blake’s retirement in 1948. Lach played through ‘54, quitting when a leg fracture robbed him of his speed.
The Rocket was part of the Canadiens dynasty that won five consecutive Cups from 1956-60 before taking his leave.
“They started winning two years after I quit because they’d cleared out the deadwood,” Lach says, laughing. “Skating was my game, and my legs were gone.”
By now he was established in business, working in sales and public relations for Maislin Transport, entertaining clients 18 holes at a time.
“Hockey opened doors for me,” says Lach, who was with Maislin for 32 years. “I had a good job, a car, an expense account and I was playing a lot of golf.”
To a 4-handicap.

Elmer Lach hit a mean golf ball for decades, playing into his 90s. For a time, he was shooting his age.
Elmer Lach hit a mean golf ball for decades, playing into his 90s. For a time, he was shooting his age.
Montreal Gazette files
He dabbled in coaching, guiding the junior Canadiens and senior Montreal Royals for a few seasons, and had Henri Richard under his wing with the juniors, telling him he was too small to make the NHL.
Of course, Richard did make the Canadiens, winning 11 Stanley Cups in uniform No. 16 – the same sweater worn by Lach.
“He was a little guy, but he always had the puck,” Lach says of the Pocket Rocket. “And when he didn’t, he went and got it.”
They stood together in the Forum in 1975, two small men with large talent and larger hearts, when Richard’s No. 16 was retired.
(Editor’s note: Lach’s No. 16 would be hung from Bell Centre rafters on Dec. 4, 2009 during the team’s centennial-game celebrations.)
Lach lost his wife to skin cancer in 1985, and a year later married Lise Desjardins, whom he’d long known from Summerlea. Until two years ago, they would spend their winters golfing in Florida; today, they’re counting the days until tee-off.
“I’m as competitive on the golf course as I was on the rink,” Lach says. “Golf is just a different amusement.”
A half-century since his last game, he still draws stares everywhere he goes, from card shows to the local mall. If he doesn’t hear the whispers, Lise is quick to let her shy husband know.
He is the last of the Punch Line, Blake having died at age 82 of Alzheimer’s disease in 1995, Richard, at 78, having lost his battle with cancer in 2000.
For one morning in five years ago, Elmer Lach was no longer a centreman, but the Rocket’s right wing, a pallbearer at Richard’s funeral.
“I still feel a part of the Canadiens,” the team’s senior-most Hall of Famer says. “What amazes me is that people still remember me. All these years later, it’s a great honour to be spoken of with the Rocket and Toe.
“And maybe we were a little better than average.”

Canadiens Hall of Famer Elmer Lach at his West Island retirement home on December 26, 2013.
Canadiens Hall of Famer Elmer Lach at his West Island retirement home on December 26, 2013.
John Kenney / Montreal Gazette