Maurice Richard Bio And Facts

Maurice Richard

Maurice Richard

Maurice Richard was a professional hockey player who spent his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. Richard is famous for taking the puck to the high-danger areas and scoring many goals. He is also remembered as a spectacularly fast and strong player, which is how he earned his nickname: “The Rocket.”

Richard passed away in 2000, but his legacy lives on in the hockey world. Ever since 1999, the NHL player who scores the most goals in a given season is awarded the Maurice Rocket Richard trophy.

Richard was a tough competitor, and he didn’t always play nice. He once struck an official and was suspended for the entire rest of the season for his violent act. Fans were angered by the harsh suspension and protested in an event that was named the “Richard Riot.” Outside of Montreal, however, most fans had no issue with the suspension. 

Basic Info:

  • Birthdate: August 4, 1921 (4-08-1921)
  • Education: Dropped out of High School at age 16
  • Net Worth: $3 million
  • Occupation: Former Professional Hockey Player
  • Height: 5’10” (1.780 m)
  • Weight: 180 lbs (82 kg)
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Years Active: 18 years
  • Career Points: 966 points
  • Career Games Played: 978 games
  • Nicknames: Rocket, The Rocket, The Rocket’s Red Glare
  • Teams: Montreal Canadiens

Net Worth

Maurice Richard’s net worth was estimated to be approximately $3 million. Richard played hockey in the mid-1900s when NHL salaries were much lower than they are now. If Richard played hockey nowadays, his net worth would be closer to $100 million!

Richard made most of his money from his salary playing hockey. He also accumulated some of his cash from being a brand ambassador for the Canadiens after he retired from playing. After three years of being a brand ambassador, he was named Vice President of the Canadiens, another job that helped him financially. However, he ultimately resigned after a year: he felt the role he had was powerless and solely an honorary role. 

Career

Maurice Richard played 18 NHL seasons from 1942 to 1960. From a young age, Richard scored at ease. As a 22 year old, Richard scored 54 points in 46 games during his first full season in 1943-44. Then, as a 23 year old, Richard had the season of a lifetime, scoring 50 goals in 50 games. In the entire history of the NHL, only five players have ever scored 50 goals in their team’s first 50 games of a season: Maurice Richard, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Brett Hull. Richard was also the first NHL player to ever score 50 goals in a single season! 

Richard’s “50 in 50” season was nearly the highest scoring of his career (73 points), but he managed to score a career-high in points in 1954-55 as a 34 year old. Unlike 1944-45, when Richard scored 73 points in just 50 games, he needed 67 games in 1954-55 to top his previous scoring record. He barely outdid himself, scoring 74 points that year. 

Titles And Awards

Maurice Richard won the Hart trophy once and the Stanley Cup an astonishing eight times. Richard’s eight Stanley Cup titles put him tied for fourth all-time in Stanley Cup wins by a player. The only players with more Stanley Cups are Henri Richard (11), Jean Beliveau (10), Yvan Cournoyer (10), and Claude Provost (9). Henri Richard, who carries the all-time NHL record for most Stanley Cup wins, was Maurice Richard’s younger brother. 

Perhaps more notable than the awards Maurice Richard won is the trophy, which is named after him. The “Maurice Rocket Richard” trophy is an annual NHL award given out to the player who scores the most goals in the regular season. Alex Ovechkin has dominated the competition for this trophy; no other player has won the trophy more than twice, whereas Ovechkin has won the trophy nine times.

Personal Life

Joseph Henri Maurice “Rocket” Richard was born in Montreal, Quebec, in August 1921. Maurice was the oldest of eight children: three girls and five boys. One of Maurice’s younger brothers was Henri Richard, who also had an impressive NHL career. 

Maurice Richard grew up in a household which struggled financially. The family relied on government aid for six years during the Great Depression. 

Maurice Richard did not play his first game of organized hockey until he was 14 years old, which is incredible considering his lasting legacy on the sport. Rather, as a young boy, he often played games that were derivatives of hockey, such as “shinny” and “hog.” 

Once he did get into organized hockey, Richard dominated. One year, he scored 133 of his team’s 144 total goals en route to a championship. 

Richard eventually married his wife Lucille and had seven children. Lucille passed away in 1994, 52 years after marrying Maurice Richard. Richard himself passed away in 2000. 

Fun Facts

  • Maurice Richard was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season.
  • There is a song called “Hockey” by Jane Siberry, which features a line about Maurice Richard.
  • The biggest salary Richard ever had was in 1952 when he collected $25,000 (the modern-day equivalent of over $200,000).

FAQ

Who is the Pocket Rocket in hockey?

The “Pocket Rocket” is a nickname for Maurice Richard’s younger brother, Henri Richard. Henri Richard was quite short for a hockey player, at just 5 feet 7 inches tall. Maurice Richard first earned the nickname “The Rocket.” Then, when his younger brother Henri became well known, the nickname “Pocket Rocket” made sense. 

How many times did Maurice Richard win the Stanley Cup?

Maurice Richard won the Stanley Cup eight times, including five straight titles between 1955-56 and 1959-60. That run of five consecutive Stanley Cups is the league record by any team. Richard also won the Stanley Cup in 1943-44, 1945-46, and 1952-53.

Did Maurice Richard ever win the Rocket Richard trophy?

The Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy was created in 1999, just a year before Richard passed away. Richard never won the trophy since it was not created until long after he retired. However, the trophy is awarded to the player who scores the most goals, so the better question may be, “did Richard ever lead the NHL in goals?” Richard led the league in goals five times between 1944-45 and 1954-55. That means Richard would have won the Rocket Richard trophy five times in his NHL career if the award existed at the time.