I was only two hours old when I was adopted

Jean Béliveau marked the history of the Canadiens, and especially my career path. It was Jean Béliveau who hired me to be the house announcer during the youth games at the Montreal Forum, on Saturday afternoons. I regularly ran into his wife, Élise, at Canadiens and Expos matches. She always took the time to find out how I was doing and how my work was going because she listened to Expos games.

When I contacted his daughter, Hélène, so that I could do this interview, just a few minutes later, I started my interview with a wonderful lady.

Your mother died when you were born.

I was on the 13thand family child. Two hours after I was born, my uncle and aunt, of the Couture family, adopted me. I bear my late mother’s first name, Élise.

You lived on Laurier Boulevard in Quebec.

My parents had a large tract of land that stretched as far as Boulevard Saint-Cyrille.

You started riding at the age of three.

My parents each had their horse and I had my pony. I had so many great times hiking the trails near the house.

You first drove a car when you were 15.

I had no choice. We had gone to Lac Beauport to celebrate, but on the way back the driver was a little too drunk.

You had never driven.

The boy in question told me that he would teach me the basics of driving. I drive home without a driver’s license.

There was an ice rink in your yard.

My brother’s friends came to play hockey.

You liked playing baseball and football.

I played baseball and soccer with my brother’s friends, not because of my talent, but because players were occasionally missing.

At home you mostly spoke English.

My adoptive mother was Irish, so we spoke French and English at home.

You regarded Guy Lafleur as your son.

When he started with the Canadiens, he lived with us, in Longueuil, so our daughter Hélène had a little brother for a while.

The recognition of Guy Lafleur has touched you deeply.

Jean and I have always been deeply moved by Guy’s praise for us.

A moving experience for Jean on horseback.

The one and only for Jean, for he was startled when the horse drove away in horror. And after this spectacular walk, Jean just said to me: “I will never go horseback riding again”.

You loved to dance.

When I was a kid, friends would often come to the house while Mom would roll up the carpets and invite us to have fun and dance.

You took dance lessons for a while with the former captain of the Canadiens.

Jean knew I loved dancing, except that his talents as a dancer didn’t have the same flexibility as his talents on an ice rink. So on Monday night, when the Canadiens weren’t playing, there were dance classes.

You were a whole group of dancers.

A former wrestler and a funny man, Larry Moquin and Zotique Lespérance, executives of the Molson brewery, along with their wives, Jean and I had so much fun when our dance teacher traveled to the house.

You and Jean loved to dance the tango.

During an evening with an orchestra you can be sure that Jean and I were parading on the dance floor to the sound of a delicious tango.

Forgive me, Mrs Béliveau, for asking you to share these moments with you.

People danced, but slowed down because they were amazed to see their idol dance a tango with such grace and elegance.

You loved to travel.

After his career was over, we took so many amazing trips. We liked the same things, except horseback riding.

You were the designated driver.

Jean didn’t like driving, so sometimes he asked if I wanted to go with him. We left home, destination Toronto, at 4:30 AM as I drove most of the trip.

How did you meet the great Jean?

Jean played hockey in Quebec, but I didn’t follow hockey. I met him on a blind date and that was the beginning of a wonderful journey.

You gave driving lessons to Jean.

We were dating in Quebec before we got married. My lessons were not very good, because the first time he drove, he had a collision with a bus in the rue Saint-Jean.

Jean-Claude Tremblay and Robert Rousseau carpooled with Jean.

Our families lived in Longueuil, so they went to the Forum together on game nights. During a period when Jean was injured and unable to play, they came to accompany him at home, and over a beer they told him about the progress of the match.

May I be indiscreet? Do you still drive your car?

I’m 90 and still drive my car. By the way, stop calling me Madame Béliveau, my name is Élise!

You’re still following the Canadian.

Due to COVID, I have only been able to attend four games this year, but I do watch them on TV. My favorite player is Cole Caufield. By the way, I asked for a photo of Cole for a young relative.

I finally granted his wish thanks to the complicity of Pierre Gervais, the equipment manager of the Canadian. I gave him a photo of Cole Caufield for the young relative before Friday’s game. Suddenly a big smile appeared on his face as Cole dedicated his autographed photo to… Madame Béliveau.

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