Nicknamed "The Rocket" for his goal-scoring prowess and blazing speed, Montréal-born Joseph Henri Maurice Richard, is widely recognized as hockey's best pure scorer.
He began playing on a backyard rink built by his father, and climbed through the minor ranks, sometimes playing for as many as four or five teams in different local leagues.
Despite a reputation of fragility due to several injuries during his years in the minors, Richard's early brilliance won him a spot with the Montréal Canadiens for the 1942-43 season. He scored five goals and collected six assists in his first 16 games, but was sidelined again by a broken ankle. He returned to the team in 1943-44, and scored 32 goals in 46 games.
During his 18 years in the National Hockey League, he led the Canadiens to eight Stanley Cups. He scored 626 goals, was named to the All-Star team 14 times, and won the NHL's Most Valuable Player award during the 1946-47 season, when he scored 50 goals in 50 games, a record that stood for 36 years. A true team player, he had the gift of being able to motivate his teammates and fans.