|5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
170 lb (77 kg)
New York Rangers
|Born||February 14, 1931,|
Montréal, QC, CAN
|Died||March 11 2006 (aged 75),|
Atlanta, GA, USA
|Pro Career||1950 – 1968|
|Hall of Fame, 1972|
Joseph André Bernard Geoffrion (February 16, 1931 – March 11, 2006), nicknamed "Boom Boom", was a Canadian professional player and coach. Generally considered as one of the innovators of the slapshot, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 following a 16-year career with the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Geoffrion was born in Montreal, Quebec, and began playing in the NHL in 1951. He earned the nickname "Boom Boom" for his thundering slapshot (which Geoffrion claimed to have 'invented' as a youngster in the late 1940s while playing junior hockey for the Montreal Nationale). He was the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in one season, the first being teammate Maurice Richard. Half the time, he played left-wing on Montreal's front line with fellow superstars Richard and Jean Béliveau, helping the Canadiens to six Stanley Cup championships, and at other times was right wing on the No. 2 line. But Boom Boom had a hard time convincing the NHL of his considerable talents; Maurice Richard, Andy Bathgate (New York Rangers) and Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings) were so good that they overshadowed him. Even after Geoffrion won the Art Ross Trophy as league scoring champion in 1955, NHL First All-Star honours went to Richard, while Geoffrion only hooked up on the Second.
However, Geoffrion's resulting anger was nothing compared to the Montreal Forum fans when Geoffrion scored one goal while crowd-favourite Richard was suspended, and at the time had led the NHL scoring race. The Wings beat the Canadiens in the final round in seven games that year, the exact same result of the previous season. "I couldn't deliberately not score, that isn't the point of hockey, Montreal," complained Geoffrion, but fans regardless kept catcalling and jeering him. "I was so feeling the urge to vomit; I felt terrible," Geoffrion emotionally, admitted. "Even thinking about hockey made me feel bad, man did I want to leave. If it had not been for Jean (Béliveau) and Maurice (Richard) visiting, I would have. Usually, it's not too much to expect to be on the First (All-Star) Team when you have more points than anyone else."
The December 20, 1953 game between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens saw stick work between Ron Murphy and Bernie Geoffrion. Geoffrion wanted to fight and had dropped his stick but Murphy wouldn't let go of his. Geoffrion retrieved his stick and swung it at Murphy until he made contact with his head. Murphy was knocked unconscious, suffered a broken jaw and concussion and missed the reason of the season recovering from the attack. Geoffrion was suspended for all remaining games versus the Rangers for the season.
In a testament to the rough-and-tumble style of play of that era, Geoffrion broke his nose six times, and received over 400 stitches. In 1958, a training accident severely injured him and his life was saved by emergency surgery. Despite advice from his doctors to stop playing for a season, Geoffrion was on the ice six weeks later to take part in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Geoffrion first retired in 1964, but returned two seasons later to play for the New York Rangers. Likely the reason for his first retirement was Béliveau (who was not one of three alternate captains), getting appointed team captain in 1961. This was following the Rocket's retirement in 1960 and Doug Harvey's trade to the Rangers in 1961 (he only lasted a year with the C). Geoffrion, who had had an A, was devastated by the decision to go with Béliveau.
"If I didn't keep suffering all those terrible injuries and yet keep coming back, if I weren't fit to lead, would I have gotten the C and kept playing?" asked Geoffrion, who had, in the 1961 semifinals, had a hurt leg and insisted, even so, that Harvey cut a cast off it so he could play. "Yes, I think I would. There were times when everybody kept telling me to quit. My doctor even told me I should stop playing, but I came back."
In 1968 he finally retired as a player and became coach of the Rangers, a position he kept for less than a season due to stomach problems. In 1972 he became the first coach of the Atlanta Flames, and held the position for two and a half seasons, leading them to their first playoff appearance in 1974. He realized a longtime dream of coaching his beloved Canadiens in 1979, but his recurring stomach ailment forced him to step down mid-season.
Family[edit | edit source]
Geoffrion was the son of Jean-Baptiste Geoffrion, a restaurant owner, and his wife, Florina Poitras. He grew up in Drolet, a suburb east of Montreal. Geoffrion was a direct descendant of Pierre Joffrion and his wife Marie Priault, early French settlers in the colony of Montreal.
Geoffrion's widow Marlene is the daughter of fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Howie Morenz and the granddaughter of the sister of Billy Coutu's wife, the first player kicked out the NHL for life. Marlene and Boom Boom Geoffrion's son, Dan Geoffrion, (born January 24, 1958) played three seasons of professional hockey, for the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association in 1978–79, Canadiens in 1979–80 (with his father as coach), and Winnipeg Jets in 1980–81. His grandson Blake Geoffrion (born February 3, 1988) plays hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and will wear the captain's "C" as a junior for the 2008–09 season. He appears poised to be the third generation of Geoffrions, and fourth generation of the Morenz-Geoffrion family, in the NHL. Blake was drafted 56th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2006 NHL Draft. Another Geoffrion, Sebastian, was recently traded from the Lincoln Stars to the Indiana Ice, both of the USHL. Before heading to Nebraska, Sebastian was a star player at Culver Academy in northern Indiana and was a former teammate of current Ice Assistant Captain Will MacDonald.
Retired Number[edit | edit source]
The Canadiens announced on October 15, 2005, that Geoffrion's uniform number 5 would be retired on March 11, 2006. On March 8, Geoffrion was diagnosed with stomach cancer after a surgical procedure uncovered it. Doctors attempted to remove the tumour, but found that the cancer had spread too far. Geoffrion died at the age of 75 in Atlanta, on March 11, the day his jersey number was to be retired. He died exactly 69 years after his father-in-law Howie Morenz's funeral at the Montreal Forum, and exactly 10 years after the Forum closed its doors in 1996, making the date among the saddest for Canadiens fans.
During his remarks at the pre-game retirement ceremony, Geoffrion's son Bob recounted how his parents had once gone to a boxing match at the Montreal Forum and that Geoffrion had told his wife Marlene that his own number would someday hang from the rafters beside that of her father's. Fulfilling that prophecy, and in further recognition of the special link between the Morenz and Geoffrion families, the two numbers were raised side by side (Morenz's banner was lowered halfway and was raised back up to the rafters with Geoffrion's banner). To add to the many coincidences of that day, the two numbers of the banner of Morenz and Geoffrion form together the number 75, which is the age he died that day.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Calder Memorial Trophy - 1952
- Art Ross Trophy - 1955, 1961
- Stanley Cup champions 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960
- Hart Memorial Trophy - 1961
- His number 5 was retired by the Montreal Canadiens on March 11, 2006
- In 1998, he was ranked number 42 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Records[edit | edit source]
- Second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season.
- Only player in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final in his first 10 seasons (a feat likely to be never duplicated).
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|1966–67||New York Rangers||NHL||58||17||25||42||42||4||2||0||2||0|
|1967–68||New York Rangers||NHL||59||5||16||21||11||1||0||1||1||0|
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Video[edit | edit source]
Highlights of the December 21, 1952 game between the Bruins and the Habs. This was the third game of a tryout for Jean Beliveau (who wears #12) and he scores twice in Montreal's 4-3 win. A first period fight between Jack McIntyre and Bernie Geoffrion (in response to McIntyre breaking Billy Reay's cheek), a dust-up between Milt Schmidt and Maurice Richard as well as goals by Dave Creighton and Beliveau are shown. The end has highlights of the December 7, 1952 Toronto Maple Leafs versus Chicago Blackhawks game including a goal by George Armstrong.
|Winner of the Calder Trophy
Lorne "Gump" Worsley
|Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
|Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
|Winner of the Hart Trophy
|Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
|Head Coaches of the Atlanta Flames
|Head Coaches of the Montreal Canadiens
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Bernie Geoffrion. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).|