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Canadiens retire No. 12 for Moore, Cournoyer

MONTREAL -- Though never teammates, Dickie Moore and Yvan
Cournoyer shared the same number with the Montreal Canadiens for 28
years.

On Saturday night, the two Hall of Famers looked on together as
their No. 12s were raised to the Bell Centre rafters to cap a
jersey retirement ceremony in their honor prior to Montreal's game
against Toronto.

Canadiens great Jean Beliveau, a teammate of Moore's during the
Canadiens' record five straight Stanley Cups from 1956-60, and
Cournoyer's captain for five more championships, spoke to the crowd
about his former teammates during the split ceremony.

"Dickie was a key component of the five consecutive Stanley
Cups we won," Beliveau said of Moore, who played 14 seasons with
the Canadiens from 1951-63 and won two consecutive scoring titles
with Montreal in 1958-59.

Cournoyer, given Moore's No. 12 as a rookie in 1963, won the
Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1973 and was nicknamed
"Roadrunner" for his breakaway speed.

"Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard
work," Beliveau said. "Yvan was proof of that."

Beliveau congratulated both, telling each that they deserved the
honor before introducing separate highlight videos of their playing
days.

Both players were presented with watches made specially for the
occasion, each featuring the team's logo and the No. 12. The team
also gave Moore and Cournoyer each a portrait that included
highlights from their respective careers.

Moore singled out Canadiens fans for thanks, as well as the late
Toe Blake, his coach from 1955 until 1963, his final season in
Montreal.

"What a gentleman," Moore said. "He helped me through in life
as much as hockey."

Cournoyer also thanked the team's fans and Blake, as well as his
other former coaches, Claude Ruel, Al McNeil and Scotty Bowman,
pointing out that he won a Stanley Cup under each of them.

"Tonight, I got the ultimate," said Cournoyer, who won 10
Stanley Cups.

The current Canadiens all wore No. 12 jerseys with either
"Moore" or "Cournoyer" nametags across their shoulders as they
took the ice prior to the game. Montreal captain Saku Koivu,
wearing a Cournoyer jersey with the captain's "C" on his chest,
stood between Moore and Cournoyer on a red carpet at center ice.

Alternate captains Craig Rivet and Richard Zednik each brought a
banner to Moore and Cournoyer, respectively. The five players stood
with their arms together as the two No. 12 banners -- with the
team's signature white-bordered blue band on red -- were raised to
join Jacques Plante's No. 1, Doug Harvey's No. 2, Beliveau's No. 4,
Howie Morenz's No. 7, Maurice Richard's No. 9, Guy Lafleur's No.
10, and Henri Richard's No. 16.

Moore and Cournoyer's jersey number is the first of a series the
Canadiens plan to retire in the coming seasons leading up to the
storied team's centennial in 2009. Bernie Geoffrion's No. 5 will be
retired March 11 prior to a game against the New York Rangers.