First Canadiens Star To Be Honoured
Who knew that the first French Canadian hockey superstar, the first Montreal Canadiens player, captain and head coach was born in Belleville? This fact was a surprise even to the board of the local Hastings County Historical Society when it received notice a few months back that Jack Laviolette was going to be recognized by the Ontario Heritage Trust with a commemorative plaque. The plaque will be unveiled at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre on Thursday, June 23 at 11a.m.
Jean-Baptiste (Jack) Laviolette was born in Belleville in July 1879 to a French family while his father was working in this area in the lumber industry. Later the Laviolette family returned to Quebec where Jack began his hockey career. In 1909, Jack was asked to assemble a team of French Canadian hockey players to open up the new Montreal Canadiens franchise. He acquired players now familiar to hockey fans: Newsy Lalonde, Didier Pitre and George Vezina for that team. And the rest is history...
In honour of their contributions to the early history of the Montreal Canadiens hockey franchise, Laviolette is one of four players born in Ontario being recognized this year in various locations throughout Ontario by Ontario Heritage Trust.