A final farewell: national funeral in Montreal for Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur

The hockey world, Quebec and Canadian politicians and fans gathered Tuesday in downtown Montreal to say farewell to an NHL legend who inspired generations.

Fans wearing number 10 jerseys and draped in Montreal’s hockey colours lined the street to pay their respects to Guy Lafleur, the Hall of Famer and five-time Stanley Cup champion who became synonymous with the Montreal Canadiens.

Lafleur died April 22 at age 70 following a battle with lung cancer.

READ: Hockey fans say final goodbye to Guy Lafleur: ‘You couldn’t meet a better person’

The national funeral began with a procession from the Bell Centre to the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral Tuesday morning.

Fans lined the barricades that blocked off the streets outside the church, cheered and chanted “Guy, Guy, Guy!” as the casket was carried into the building.

There, former hockey players – many of Lafleur’s teammates who themselves are considered some of the city and province’s greatest icons – shared stories of “The Flower.”

With Lafleur’s casket at the front of the cathedral – draped in a blue, white and red Montreal Canadiens flag – several made emotional eulogies as fans watched the livestream outside on a big screen.

Yvan Cournoyer, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, Patrick Roy, Guy Carbonneau and Joe Sakic were among the former players at the ceremony.

“Guy once said, ‘Play every game as if it is your last one,”’ Robinson said. “Nobody embodied that philosophy better than Guy. “Not only did he play each game to the fullest, he tried to live his life to the fullest off the ice as well.”

“He was a team guy,” added Savard. “He never felt bigger than the team. He was a great, humble superstar… The fourth year he was the best player in the league for six years. By far, by far. He made a difference. To me he made the difference at the same level than Gretzky did at his time, than Bobby Orr did at his time. They were simply the best in the league.”

Lafleur’s son, Martin Lafleur, described his father as someone who always made time for his family and who wanted to take care of everyone, “even people he didn’t know.”

He told the crowd at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in downtown Montreal that his father wasn’t perfect but did everything he could to ensure he, his mother and brother were happy and lacked nothing.

“Thank you for all the values you passed on to us Dad, we love you,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault were in attendance.

Trudeau said the funeral was an opportunity to thank Lafleur for everything he did.

“All the wins, the inspiration, the incredible games he played, but also his deep humanity. His contributions to the world around him was legendary and an inspiration to us all. Today’s a day to reflect and celebrate on everything he gave us.”


Current Montreal Canadiens players like Shea Weber, Carey Price, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield were also there.

Quebec icon Ginette Reno, who became known as the team’s lucky charm when she sang the national anthem during a deep playoff run, sang at Tuesday’s funeral.

The traditional Catholic ceremony was headed by Archbishop Christian Lepine.

The national funeral followed a two-day visitation at the Bell Centre – the home of the Canadiens – where thousands of people paid tribute to Lafleur as he was lying in state.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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