Robert Rousseau

Robert Rousseau, hockey player, professional golfer (b at Montréal 26 Jul 1940). When the Rousseau family settled in Saint-Hyacinthe (Québec) in 1942, Robert was two years old. Throughout his childhood he was especially fond of ice HOCKEY, his older brothers serving as role models. In 1948, he had such passion for the sport that he hung around the municipal arena, hoping to glimpse players from the MONTRÉAL CANADIENS who were holding their pre-season camp there.

However, in addition to his enthusiasm, young Rousseau also possessed an exceptional talent for the sport. At the age of thirteen, he was already taking part in competitions against the best players in the region. Two years later, he joined his brothers Gilles and Jean, who wore the colours of the St-Jean Braves at the junior level.

Rousseau attracted the attention of the Canadiens' top administration, who offered him a contract like that of his brothers. However, since the Canadiens had never given their two elder sons real opportunities to play in the National Hockey League, Robert's parents strongly advised him against accepting this proposal. Besides, the Detroit Red Wings were showing interest in him. In spite of his relatives' advice, Robert Rousseau signed a contract and was sent by the Canadiens, at the beginning of the 1956-57 season, to the hockey school in Hull-Ottawa to continue his training. At the end of the 1957-1958 campaign, he contributed to the success of his team, who won the Memorial Cup. Two years later, as he was one of the best junior players in the country, he was invited to join the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen who represented Canada at the WINTER OLYMPICS in Squaw Valley (USA).

During the Olympic tournament, Robert Rousseau scored five goals and four assists. With four victories and one defeat, Canada had be content with the silver medal while the unbeaten Americans won the gold.

The following season "Bobby," as he was nicknamed, participated in fifteen Montréal Canadiens matches. Then in 1961-1962, he played his first complete season and the NHL awarded him the Calder Trophy as best rookie.

His talent for scoring winning goals and making assists made him a favourite among Canadiens supporters. He realised his greatest achievement on 1 Feb 1964 when he scored five goals against the Detroit Red Wings. During the 1965-1966 season, he was named to the second all-star team and ranked second in scoring with 78 points, on an equal footing with the legendary Stan Mikita of the Chicago Black Hawks.

He led the Canadiens in scoring in 1966 and 1967, and won four STANLEY CUPS (1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969) during his ten seasons with the red, white and blue. In 1970, he was traded to Minnesota and the following year he was passed to the New York Rangers. By the end of his fifteen years in the National Hockey League, he had played 942 matches, scored 245 goals, and made 458 assists.

On retiring from hockey in 1975, Rousseau devoted himself entirely to his career as a professional golfer, which he had begun in 1964. In 1996, he won the Association des golfeurs professionnels du Québec senior championship, and was named senior player of the year in 2005. Two years later, he was inducted into the QUÉBEC SPORTS HALL OF FAME.