Maurice "The Rocket" Richard was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in one season and the first to score 500 goals in a career. He won 8 Stanley Cups and retired as the NHL's all-time leading scorer.
An estimated 115,000 people paid their respects while his body lay in state at Montreal's Bell Centre. Following Richard's death, the Montreal Expos Major League baseball team wore Richard's number 9, in black, on their right sleeves for the duration of the 2000 season, and flags were lowered to half staff as Quebec's National Assembly was suspended for the day. Richard was given a provincial state funeral that was broadcast live across Canada, the first time such an honour was bestowed on an athlete. Among those who attended were Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Lise Thibault, various politicians (including then Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien, and then Premier of Quebec Lucien Bouchard), Gordie Howe, Jean Béliveau, and then Canadiens team captain Saku Koivu.