Henri ‘Pocket Rocket’ Richards was born February 29, 1936, in Montreal, Quebec and passed away at 84 on March 6, 2020 in Laval, Quebec. Richards spent 20 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens between 1955 to 1975 and won 11 Stanley Cups, the most any player has ever won. Richards even scored two Stanley Cup game-winning goals.
Richards was no stranger to winning. He made 9 all-star game appearances and played 1259 National Hockey League games, recorded 358 goals and 688 assists for a total of 1046 points and 981 penalty minutes to boot. Richards is on a shortlist of NHL players who have played over a thousand games and recorded over a thousand points. In addition to his regular-season stats, he also played in 180 playoff games and recorded 129 points.
In 1979 he was inducted into the hockey hall of fame and later became an ambassador for the Montreal Canadiens. After some bad news emerged in 2015, Richards was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and would withdraw from the hockey community.
Richards is celebrated as one of the greatest hockey players of all time and is ranked in the top 100. Richards grew up in Montreal and is one of the few players who are lucky enough to play for their hometown team their entire career. Richard made a statement in 2003 that many people had doubts he would ever play in the NHL because of his smaller stature (5’7”, 160 lbs), hence the birth of his nickname the “Pocket Rocket”, which is a direct reference to his size.
It's likely no single person will beat Richards’ 11 Stanley Cup rings in the current NHL because of the format of the draft, salary cap, and the fact that there are more teams. It's safe to say Richards will forever be one of the greatest NHL athletes and we should remember that he leaves behind a legacy for hockey fans and current athletes.