In sports winning is everything. If you’re not first, then you might as well be last. One hockey player who embodied that spirit more than anyone was Henri Richard, otherwise known as the ‘Pocket Rocket.’ Richard won the Stanley Cup 11 times as a player, giving him the record for most wins ever. This is the legendary career of the Pocket Rocket.
Henri Richard was not the tallest of hockey players, standing at 5’7”. He became known as the Pocket Rocket because his brother, Maurice Richard, was called “The Rocket.” As Henri was several inches shorter than Maurice, he was called the Pocket Rocket. Size didn’t matter too much for Henri when he was on the ice, and he soon proved that he was all about winning.
When Richard began his hockey playing career, he was signed to the Montreal Jr. Canadiens before making the switch to the senior team in 1955. For a rookie he had a great first season in the NHL, scoring 19 and bagging 21 assists. His best ever season came two years later, when he finished with 80 points. He won the Stanley Cup five seasons in a row from 1956 to 1967. The last of his victories came in 1973 as Richard kept fighting away.
The following season would be his last, and in total Richard played in over 1,000 games for the Canadiens, scoring over 1,000 points for them. Richard wasn’t able to get on the ice as much as he would have liked in his final season, but he had already nothing left to prove at that point. He only managed 15 appearances in the 1974-75 season, and just four years later he would be welcomed into the Hall of Fame.
Besides being the player with the most Stanley Cup victories to their name, Richard managed to achieve a few other impressive accolades. He was selected for the All-Star game nine times, including toward the end of his career in 1974. Richard was voted the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The trophy is given to the player in the league who exemplifies qualities of perseverance and dedication to hockey. Richard won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1974 as a 38-year-old.
Saying goodbye to hockey
After 15 years of dedication to the Canadiens, Richard was given the honor of being named the captain in 1971. It was a position he held until he called time on his career in 1975. His final game came in a playoff against the Buffalo Sabres, and as he took off his famous number 16 shirt for the last time, the Canadiens retired his jersey. Combined with his brother’s eight Stanley Cup wins, the Richards own the most victories by any hockey siblings with 19.
The Pocket Rocket was one of the best players to ever skate on the ice thanks to his 11 Stanley Cup victories. Not only was he an incredible winner but he was a real leader and should be considered an all-time great.