The first of two public visitations is underway at the Bell Centre in Montreal
Thousands of Quebecers are taking advantage of the chance to say their final goodbyes to hockey legend Guy Lafleur today.
The first of two public visitations is being held at the Bell Centre in Montreal until 8 p.m. Sunday, followed by the second on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A national funeral will also be held on Tuesday.
Lafleur died just over a week ago at the age of 70 following a battle with lung cancer.
He led the Canadiens to four straight Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s and is still the all-time points leader for the Habs. He had struggled with health conditions, including a recurrence of lung cancer in 2020.
"Quebecers of my age will certainly never forget him," Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters while speaking at the Bell Centre.
"I remember the moments I had with my father watching Guy Lafleur and hearing the crowd chanting his name," he said. "That was something."
He said he wants to see more kids getting into the sport, saying more needs to be done to attract them.
"There was Maurice Richard — that was before my time — and Guy Lafleur. And now we are waiting for our next superstar impatiently," he said.
A national funeral for Lafleur will be held on Tuesday at the Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral in downtown Montreal, beginning at 11 a.m.
National funerals are reserved for "people who, for example, have made an impact on political life, as decided by the government," the province says. The announcement of a national funeral for Lafleur follows similar honours for fellow Canadiens icons, Maurice Richard and Jean Béliveau, in 2000 and 2014 respectively.
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