Montreal Canadiens

Maurice Richard and How He Became "The Rocket"

Matt EichelSenior Writer IJune 17, 2008

Little did he know that one day his nickname for the legendary Maurice Richard would become so popular.

Ray Getliffe, a left winger who broke into the NHL with the Boston Bruins in the late 1930s, is the player responsible for giving Richard the nickname "The Rocket."

"Reporters stood behind the bench during practice at the Forum in those days," remarked Getliffe to the Montreal Gazette in a 2004 interview. "Elmer Lach threw a puck over to this new kid, who flew in from the blue line."

"I said 'Look at that, he's like a rocket.'"

Getliffe, 94, recently passed away after battling liver cancer. He had been the oldest living former Canadien.

"Dink Carroll [a long-time sports columnist at the time] heard me and the next day it was in the Gazette. That's how Richard became 'The Rocket.'"

During his career in Montreal from 1939-1945, Getliffe would never notch less than 10 goals in a season. Getliffe won a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1943-44. He also won a Cup with the Bruins in 1938-39.

Getliffe's totaled 136 goals and 137 assists for 273 points, as well as 260 PIM, in 393 career games.



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