One of the most successful players in league history, Henri Richard, is battling Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report.
Le Journal De Quebec reported Friday evening that Richard, 79, was absent from the 22nd Hector "Toe" Blake Alzheimer Celebrity Golf Tournament, a tournament that was created in support of the Alzheimer Society of Montreal. Blake, the legendary Canadiens coach who won eight Stanley Cup patrolling the Habs’ bench, passed away in 1995 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
Richard’s condition is said to have worsened lately, according to Le Journal’s Pierre Durocher.
"It's very sad to see what condition it is,” Rejean Houle, president of the Canadiens’ Alumni Association, told Durocher. “…We often think of (Henri) and his wife Lise, demonstrating great courage (at this time).”
Currently, Richard is listed as an ambassador for the Canadiens and is a member of the alumni association.
Nicknamed the ‘Pocket Rocket’ due to being Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richards’ little brother and his 5-foot-7 frame, Richard holds the NHL record for most Stanley Cups by a player, having won 11 with the Canadiens from. He was part of the late-1950s dynastic Montreal club that won five consecutive Stanley Cups. While he wasn’t the dynamic offensive threat that his brother was, Henri was a savvy playmaker and finished his career with 358 goals and 1,046 points in 1,256 games. He has the 68th most points of any player in NHL history.
Two of the most memorable moments of Richard’s career included a pair of Stanley Cup winning goals. In the 1966 final, Richard scored in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings to win the Canadiens the Stanley Cup. He would again be the Stanley Cup hero in the 1971 final, when he scored the game-tying goal late in the second period of Game 7 against Chicago. Little more than two minutes into the third period, Richard scored again to lift the Canadiens past the Black Hawks.
Richard is one of only five players to have two Stanley Cup-winning goals to his name. The others are Toe Blake, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Orr and Mike Bossy.
Richard was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1979. When The Hockey News ranked its top 100 players in league history, Richard came in at 29.