Dick Irvin to be honoured with the Order of Canada
Published Monday, January 6, 2014 10:10PM EST
If you grew up loving the Montreal Canadiens, you probably know his voice.
Dick Irvin, the legendary voice of the Canadiens on both TV and radio, and a man who also wrote books and took part in charity work, is being honoured with the Order of Canada.
Irvin said he is still stunned he will be receiving one of the highest honours in the country.
“I had no idea! There was no inkling at all that I was going to get that phone call with that message,” said the Hall-of-Fame broadcaster.
Despite his modesty, Irvin's voice is one of the most recognizable in Canada.
He began broadcasting Canadiens games in 1966, and through four decades, could be heard on Hockey Night in Canada, radio broadcasts and as sports director of CFCF TV.
No surprise, Irvin said the glory days were covering the Habs’ teams of the 1970s.
“One year they lost…what? Eight games? It was incredible,” he said.
He recalled falling in love with the game when he was eight years old. His father, Dick Irvin Sr., was the coach of the Habs from 1940 to 1955, leading the team to three Stanley Cups.
As synonymous as Irvin Jr. is with hockey, he is being honoured for more; he ran the sports celebrity dinner for the Montreal Children's Hospital for 24 years and has appeared at charity fundraisers in every province in Canada.
Still, he has a life full of hockey memories – and watching Guy Lafleur play is one of the best.
“Every hockey city needs a Guy Lafleur. I still say he was the most exciting player I ever broadcast,” he said.
He also cherishes memories working alongside his broadcast partner Danny Gallivan, known for commanding grasp of the English language.
“I remember one night, Mickey Redmond was working with me, and Danny said, 'The puck worked its way through a plethora of legs in front of the net.' Mickey looked at me and was like, ‘What did he say?’ and right on the air, I said, ‘Well, Mick, I think that means there were a lot of legs in front of the net,’” recalled Irvin with a laugh.
Born in Alberta and having lived in Saskatchewan, Irvin said he fell in love with Montreal
“I love Quebec and I love Montreal. There's no way I was going to leave,” he said.