A national funeral will be held for hockey great Guy Lafleur on Tuesday, but fans will be able to pay their respects to the late hockey great as he lies in state at the Bell Centre as of Sunday.
Lafleur’s family accepted Quebec’s offer for a state funeral, Premier François Legault announced last week, which will be held on May 3 at 11 a.m. at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in downtown Montreal.
Meanwhile, as of Sunday morning, the public can honour the hockey Hall of Famer at the Bell Centre where he will rest from noon to 8 p.m., and again on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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Fans wishing to pay a final tribute are invited to visit the hockey stadium using its main entrance at 1909 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal.
“Out of respect for the public, which has supported Guy over the years, the Lafleur family has agreed to share their grief with the community,” a statement from the Montreal Canadiens said earlier this week. “And in keeping with the family’s wishes, all activities will reflect the image of the late hockey legend: they will be humble and accessible.”
The events will be organized by the Montreal Canadiens and the Protocole du Gouvernement du Quebec.
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According to the province, a state funeral is “reserved for people who, for example, have made an impact on political life, as decided by the government.”
Legault made the offer to Lafleur’s family in the hours following his death on April 22 at age 70 following a battle with lung cancer.
He said the government was looking at other tributes including the renaming a highway in the Outaouais region in western Quebec where Lafleur was raised.
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“This national funeral in homage to the memory of Mr. Guy Lafleur testifies to all the admiration and all the love that Quebecers have for him,” Legault said. “He will have marked our history and our national culture forever. We will therefore pay him a deserved tribute, for the great man he was.”
Legault, who previously called Lafleur the “greatest player in the history of the NHL,” is set to be among those paying his respects.
Lafleur helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in 1973, and then again four more times from 1976 to 1979. He finished with a career total of 560 goals and 793 assists for 1,353 points in 1,126 games over his 17-season career. He was later named one of the NHL’s top-100 players of all-time.
National honours were also granted to Habs stars Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau when they died.
— With files from the Canadian Press and Kalina Laframboise, Global News