Maccabi Canada loses a True Friend

Jean Beliveau 1985Maccabi Canada mourns the passing of the legendary Jean Béliveau.

Gary Ulrich and Jean Béliveau

Chef de Mission of the Canadian delegation to 2 Maccabiah Games in Israel, 1985 and 1997, Jean was a fan and a friend of Maccabi Canada and Israel throughout the years.  In his autobiography “My Life in Hockey” Jean wrote extensively about his experience with Maccabi and the opportunity to visit Israel. “But the most unforgettable moment at the Israeli trip for me had to be with the reason why we were there, the Maccabiah Games.  I can’t remember anything in my professional career that matched marching into Ramat Gan Stadium at the head of the Canadian contingent, with 60,000 spectators cheering us on.  Canada got an extra special salute, and everyone felt this as we walked proudly behind our flag”.

In the words of Gary Ulrich, a close, personal friend of Jean, and the one who got him involved with the Maccabi movement:  “Maccabi Canada lost an important part of our family and a great leader.  Jean Béliveau was a great human being whose life was spent with great humility and dignity.  He was a man and a myth, larger than life in some ways, yet most ordinary human in others.

Jean inspired our athletes when in Israel and they all looked up to him.  Every person had an individual Jean Béliveau story which he always welcomed. Maccabi was an important part of Jean’s life and he always asked me for updates on how our athletes are doing.

On a personal basis, I lost a great personal friend.  Maccabi Canada and the world have lost a great human being.  We will miss him dearly and forever.”

Maccabi Canada offers their condolences to Jean’s wife Elise, daughter Hélène, two grandchildren Mylène and Magalie, and the extended Béliveau family.

Jean was a great hockey player, tremendous family man and exceptional human being.  To our friend, chaver, you will truly be missed.

To read more about Jean Béliveau’s affiliation with Maccabi Canada, please click on the following links.

Jean Béliveau enriches a portrait with an autograph – CJN News
Jean Béliveau Honourary Chef de Mission 1997
Jean Béliveau Chef d’Mission 1997 – Ottawa Jewish News
Jean Béliveau Inducted to Jewish Sports Hall of Fame YM-YWHA post