Quebecers will get their chance to say goodbye to hockey legend Guy Lafleur as of today.
The first of two public visitations will be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, followed by the second on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A national funeral will also be held on Tuesday.
Lafleur died just over a week ago at the age of 70 following a battle with lung cancer.
He led the Canadiens to four straight Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s and is still the all-time points leader for the Habs. He had struggled with health conditions, including a recurrence of lung cancer in 2020.
“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,” the Montreal Canadiens wrote in a statement last week. “In keeping with the family’s wishes, all activities will reflect the image of the late hockey legend: they will be humble and accessible.”
Visitors are asked to use the arena’s main entrance at 1909 des Canadiens-de-Montreal Ave. Dozens had already gathered as of 9 a.m. Sunday.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault is also expected to visit the Bell Centre as it opens its doors at noon on Sunday.
“This national funeral in homage to the memory of Guy Lafleur is a testament to all the admiration and love that Quebecers have for him. He has left his mark on our history and our national culture forever,” the premier said in a statement last week, as he announced the plan for a national funeral.
National funerals are reserved for “people who, for example, have made an impact on political life, as decided by the government,” the province says. The announcement of a national funeral for Lafleur follows similar honours for fellow Canadiens icons, Maurice Richard and Jean Béliveau, in 2000 and 2014 respectively.
The national funeral for Lafleur will be held on Tuesday at the Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral in downtown Montreal, beginning at 11 a.m.