Bernie Geoffrion

Last updated
Bernie Geoffrion
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1972
Bernard Geoffrion Chex.jpg
Born(1931-02-16)February 16, 1931
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died March 11, 2006(2006-03-11) (aged 75)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 166 lb (75 kg; 11 st 12 lb)
Position Right wing
Shot Right
Played for Montreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Playing career 19501968

Joseph Bernard André Geoffrion (French pronunciation:  [ʒɔfʁjɔ̃] ; February 14, 1931 – March 11, 2006), nicknamed Boom Boom, was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and coach. Generally considered as one of the innovators of the slapshot, [1] he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 following a 16-year career with the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. In 2017 Geoffrion was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history. [2]

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

Slapshot Shooting technique in hockey

A slapshot in ice hockey is the hardest shot one can perform. It has four stages which are executed in one fluid motion to make the puck fly into the net:

  1. The player winds up his hockey stick to shoulder height or higher.
  2. Next the player violently "slaps" the ice slightly behind the puck and uses his weight to bend the stick, storing energy in it like a spring. This bending of the stick gives the slapshot its speed. Just like a bow and arrow, the stick's tendency to return to being straight is transferred to the puck, giving it much more speed than just hitting it alone could.
  3. When the face of the stick blade strikes the puck, the player rolls his wrists and shifts his weight so that the energy stored in the stick is released through the puck.
  4. Finally, the player follows through, ending up with the stick pointed towards the desired target.


Playing career

Geoffrion was born in Montreal, Quebec, and began playing in the NHL in 1951. He earned the nickname "Boom Boom" for his thundering slapshot (which Geoffrion claimed to have 'invented' as a youngster ) from sportswriter Charlie Boire of the Montreal Star in the late 1940s while playing junior hockey for the Laval Nationale. He was the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in one season, the first being teammate Maurice Richard. Half the time, he played left-wing on Montreal's front line with fellow superstars Richard and Jean Béliveau, helping the Canadiens to six Stanley Cup championships, and at other times was right wing on the No. 2 line. But Geoffrion had a hard time convincing the NHL of his considerable talents; Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull (Chicago Blackhawks) and Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings) were so good that they overshadowed him. Even after Geoffrion won the Art Ross Trophy as league scoring champion in 1955, NHL First All-Star honours went to Richard, while Geoffrion only was selected to the second.[ citation needed ]

Montreal City in Quebec, Canada

Montreal is the most populous municipality in the Canadian province of Quebec and the second-most populous municipality in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is centred on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard. It has a distinct four-season continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold, snowy winters.

Quebec Province of Canada

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario and the bodies of water James Bay and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to the south by the province of New Brunswick and the US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is historically and politically considered to be part of Central Canada.

<i>Montreal Star</i> former Canadian newspaper

The Montreal Star was an English-language Canadian newspaper published in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It closed in 1979 in the wake of an eight-month pressmen's strike.

However, Geoffrion's resulting anger was nothing compared to the Montreal Forum fans when Geoffrion scored one goal while crowd-favourite Richard was suspended, and at the time had led the NHL scoring race. The Wings beat the Canadiens in the final round in seven games that year, exactly the same result of the previous season. "I couldn't deliberately not score, that isn't the point of hockey, Montreal," complained Geoffrion, but fans regardless kept catcalling and jeering him. "I was so feeling the urge to vomit; I felt terrible," Geoffrion emotionally admitted. "Even thinking about hockey made me feel bad, man did I want to leave. If it had not been for Jean (Béliveau) and Maurice (Richard) visiting, I would have. Usually, it's not too much to expect to be on the First (All-Star) Team when you have more points than anyone else."[ citation needed ]

Montreal Forum Former arena in Montreal, Québec Province, Canada; now an entertainment complex

Montreal Forum was an indoor arena located facing Cabot Square in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Called "the most storied building in hockey history" by Sporting News, it was the home of the National Hockey League's Montreal Maroons from 1924 to 1938 and the Montreal Canadiens from 1926 to 1996. The Forum was built by the Canadian Arena Company in 159 days.

Early in his playing career, he had a reputation for letting his temper get the best of him. [3] One such example occurred late in the second period of a Canadiens' 3–1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 20, 1953. With a two-handed swing, Geoffrion's stick made contact with the left side of Ron Murphy's face, resulting in a broken jaw and concussion. The injuries ended Murphy's season. Geoffrion was suspended for the remaining matches between the two teams in that campaign. [4]

Madison Square Garden (1925) Arena in New York, United States

Madison Square Garden was an indoor arena in New York City, the third bearing that name. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1968, and was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan, on the site of the city's trolley-car barns. It was on the west side of Eighth Avenue. It was the first Garden that was not located near Madison Square. MSG III was the home of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association, and also hosted numerous boxing matches, the Millrose Games, concerts, and other events.

Ron Murphy Canadian ice hockey player

Robert Ronald Murphy was a professional ice hockey player who played for the New York Rangers, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins over the course of an 889-game National Hockey League (NHL) career.

Jaw opposable articulated structure at the entrance of the mouth, typically used for grasping and manipulating food; structures constituting the vault of the mouth and serving to open and close it and is part of the body plan of most animals

The jaw is any opposable articulated structure at the entrance of the mouth, typically used for grasping and manipulating food. The term jaws is also broadly applied to the whole of the structures constituting the vault of the mouth and serving to open and close it and is part of the body plan of most animals.

In a testament to the rough-and-tumble style of play of that era, Geoffrion broke his nose six times, and received over 400 stitches. In 1958, a training accident severely injured him and his life was saved by emergency surgery. Despite advice from his doctors to stop playing for a season, Geoffrion was on the ice six weeks later to take part in the 1958 Stanley Cup Final.[ citation needed ]

Surgery Medical specialty

Surgery is a medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate or treat a pathological condition such as a disease or injury, to help improve bodily function or appearance or to repair unwanted ruptured areas.

Geoffrion first retired in 1964 and became head coach of les AS de Québec of the American Hockey League (AHL), but returned two seasons later to play for the New York Rangers. Likely the reason for his first retirement was Béliveau (who was not one of three alternate captains), getting appointed team captain in 1961. This was following the Rocket's retirement in 1960 and Doug Harvey's trade to the Rangers in 1961 (he only lasted a year with the C). Geoffrion, who had had an A, was devastated by the decision to go with Béliveau.[ citation needed ]

Quebec Aces ice hockey team

The Quebec Aces, also known in French as Les As de Québec, were an amateur and later a professional men's ice hockey team from Quebec City, Quebec. The Aces were founded in 1928 by Anglo-Canadian Pulp and Paper Mills, the name Aces standing for Anglo-Canadian Employees with an s to form a plural. The French name was added later. The Aces played until 1971, from 1930 on playing home games at the Quebec Coliseum. Most notable of the Aces' players was the legendary Jean Béliveau, who played for the Quebec Aces in 1951-52 and 1952-53.

American Hockey League ice hockey league in the United States

The American Hockey League (AHL) is a professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as the primary developmental league for the National Hockey League (NHL). Since the 2010–11 season, every team in the league has an affiliation agreement with one NHL team. When NHL teams do not have an AHL affiliate, players are assigned to AHL teams affiliated with other NHL teams. Twenty-seven AHL teams are located in the United States and the remaining four are in Canada. The league offices are located in Springfield, Massachusetts, and its current president is David Andrews.

New York Rangers National Hockey League franchise in New York City

The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York City. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden in the borough of Manhattan, an arena they share with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are one of three NHL teams located in the New York metropolitan area; the others being the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

"If I didn't keep suffering all those terrible injuries and yet keep coming back, if I weren't fit to lead, would I have gotten the C and kept playing?" asked Geoffrion, who had, in the 1961 semifinals, had a hurt leg and insisted, even so, that Harvey cut a cast off it so he could play. "Yes, I think I would. There were times when everybody kept telling me to quit. My doctor even told me I should stop playing, but I came back."[ citation needed ]

Coaching career

In 1968 he finally retired as a player and became coach of the Rangers, but resigned after only 43 games due to ulcers in his stomach. In 1972 he became the first coach of the Atlanta Flames, and held the position for two and a half seasons, leading them to their first playoff appearance in 1974. However, 52 games into his third season, he had to resign due to health problems yet again. Geoffrion moved to the Flames' broadcast booth, where he became the colour commentator alongside veteran play-by-play man Jiggs McDonald. He realized a longtime dream of coaching his beloved Canadiens in 1979, but his recurring stomach ailment forced him to step down mid-season.[ citation needed ]

In the 1970s and into the 1980s, Geoffrion appeared in several television commercials for Miller Lite beer, part of their stable of retired athletes-turned-spokesmen which also included Billy Martin and Bob Uecker.[ citation needed ]


Geoffrion was the son of Jean-Baptiste Geoffrion, a restaurant owner, and his wife, Florina Poitras. He grew up in Drolet, a suburb east of Montreal. Geoffrion was a direct descendant of Pierre Joffrion and his wife Marie Priault, early French settlers in the colony of Montreal. [5] Marie Priault was a King's Daughter.[ citation needed ]

Geoffrion's widow Marlene is the daughter of fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Howie Morenz and the granddaughter of the sister of the wife of Billy Coutu, the only player banned from the NHL for life. [6] Geoffrion's son Dan (born January 24, 1958) played five seasons of professional hockey, which included stops with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association in 1978–79, Canadiens in 1979–80 (with his father as coach), and Winnipeg Jets in 1980–81.[ citation needed ] His grandson Blake Geoffrion (born February 3, 1988) played for the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens in the NHL. Dan's younger sons, Sebastian and Brice, played for the University of Alabama in Huntsville Chargers [7] , [8] . Geoffrion's son-in-law, Hartland Monahan, played in the NHL for several teams in the 1970s, and his grandson Shane Monahan played Major League Baseball for the Seattle Mariners in the late 1990s. [9]

Retired number

The Canadiens announced on October 15, 2005, that Geoffrion's uniform number, 5, would be retired on March 11, 2006. On March 8, Geoffrion was diagnosed with stomach cancer after a surgical procedure uncovered it. Doctors attempted to remove the tumour but found that the cancer had spread. Geoffrion died in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 11, the day his jersey number was to be retired. [10] During his remarks at the pre-game retirement ceremony, Geoffrion's son Bob recounted how his parents had once gone to a boxing match at the Montreal Forum and that Geoffrion had told his wife Marlene that his own number would someday hang from the rafters beside that of her father, Howie Morenz. [11] Fulfilling that prophecy, and in further recognition of the special link between the Morenz and Geoffrion families, the two numbers were raised side by side (Morenz's banner was lowered halfway and was raised back up to the rafters with Geoffrion's banner). Traded to the Montreal Canadiens by the Nashville Predators on February 17, 2012, Blake Geoffrion decided to honor both his grandfather Geoffrion, as well as his great-grandfather Morenz, by wearing #57.[ citation needed ]


Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1946–47Montreal Concordia CivicsQJHL2678156
1947–48Laval NationaleQJHL292015354911751211
1947–48 Laval Nationale M-Cup 832511
1948–49Laval NationaleQJHL4241357649936922
1949–50Laval NationaleQJHL345234867736068
1949–50 Montreal Royals QSHL 10000
1950–51Montreal NationaleQJHL3654449880
1950–51 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1886149111126
1951–52 Montreal CanadiensNHL6730245466113146
1952–53 Montreal CanadiensNHL652217393712641012
1953–54 Montreal CanadiensNHL542925548711651118
1954–55 Montreal CanadiensNHL70383775571285138
1955–56 Montreal CanadiensNHL59293362661059146
1956–57 Montreal CanadiensNHL411921401810117182
1957–58 Montreal CanadiensNHL42272350511065112
1958–59 Montreal CanadiensNHL592244663011581310
1959–60 Montreal CanadiensNHL59304171368210124
1960–61 Montreal CanadiensNHL645045952942130
1961–62 Montreal CanadiensNHL622336593650116
1962–63 Montreal CanadiensNHL512318417350114
1963–64 Montreal CanadiensNHL552118394171124
1966–67 New York Rangers NHL581725424242020
1967–68 New York RangersNHL59516211110110
NHL totals883393429822689132586011888

Coaching record

TeamYear Regular season Post season
NYR 1968–69 4322183(47)3rd in EastResigned due to health problems
ATL 1972–73 78253815657th in WestMissed playoffs
ATL 1973–74 78303414744th in WestLost in quarter-finals
ATL 1974–75 52202210(54)4th in WestFired midseason
MTL 1979–80 301596(36)1st in NorrisResigned due to health problems

See also

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  1. "Bernie Geoffrion dead at 75". CBC News. March 11, 2006.
  2. "100 Greatest NHL Players". January 1, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  3. "Sport: Boom-Boom on Top", TIME (magazine), December 27, 1954.
  4. Sandomir, Richard. "A Brutal Hockey Fight in 1953 Finds New Life", The New York Times, Monday, June 20, 2011.
  5. Geoffrion family genealogy.
  6. "Surprise, Simon! Coutu's ban NHL's longest". Calgary Herald . December 23, 2007. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  9. Fish, Mike (December 28, 2007). "Clubhouse culture led ex-Mariner to steroids and greenies". Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  11. "Post Game Story - YouTube: Geoffrion sweater retirement ceremony". YouTube. 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  12. "100 Greatest NHL Players". January 1, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
Preceded by
Terry Sawchuk
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Lorne "Gump" Worsley
Preceded by
Gordie Howe
Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
Succeeded by
Jean Beliveau
Preceded by
Bobby Hull
Winner of the Art Ross Trophy
Succeeded by
Bobby Hull
Preceded by
Gordie Howe
Winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Jacques Plante
Preceded by
Emile Francis
Head coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Emile Francis
Preceded by
Position created
Head coach of the Atlanta Flames
Succeeded by
Fred Creighton
Preceded by
Scotty Bowman
Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens
Succeeded by
Claude Ruel