The man on the April 2, 1973, cover of SI was just another fan in the stands last month at Montreal's Molson Centre for a World Cup game between the U.S. and Canada—or so he thought. But when a camera shot of Henri Richard was projected onto the Centre's scoreboard screen, a wave of warm applause washed over the arena. In Montreal the 60-year-old Richard needs no identification other than the Pocket Rocket. "I didn't even realize they were showing me up there," said Richard. "I guess people recognize me because of the hair."
There is a little more to it than his distinctive wavy white hair. In 1973, six weeks after the above cover date, Richard helped the Canadiens win what would be their 11th Stanley Cup during his tenure with the team; no other NHL player has played, or likely ever will play, on as many championship teams. Still, Henri has often been lost in the shadow of his brother, legendary Montreal right wing Maurice (the Rocket) Richard. The Pocket Rocket was 15 years younger, three inches smaller and not as talented as the Rocket. "People still tell me I'm Maurice's little brother, just as they did 40 years ago," says Henri. "I wasn't skilled like my brother, [Jean] B�liveau, (Stan] Mikita or [Bobby] Hull, but I worked hard."
In the Pocket's mind the 11 Stanley Cups tend to blend into one massive award. He does say that his most memorable triumph came in the 1971 finals. Before Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, Richard had criticized his coach, Al MacNeil, by saying that MacNeil was incapable of anything more than sending out fresh lines. "Because of what I said, I had a lot of pressure on me," Richard says. "I was sweating all day. Of course it was also 85 degrees in Chicago that afternoon." He scored two goals, including the Cup winner, in a 3-2 Montreal victory. The next season he was named team captain.
Richard retired in 1975 after 20 years with the Canadiens, and in 1986 he sold the Montreal tavern he had owned for 26 years. Since then he has done promotional work for the Canadiens and Molson Breweries, while refining a tennis game that's so good he has ranked among the top 10 seniors in Quebec. The venerated Maurice (who played on eight Cup winners) has stayed in the public eye with, among other activities, a TV commercial for Grecian Formula 16. Henri defiantly keeps his hair a natural white.