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Hockey Announcer Lecavalier Dies

September 7, 1999

MONTREAL (AP) _ Rene Lecavalier, who hosted French-language NHL games for Radio-Canada for more than 30 years, died Monday. He was 81.

The Montreal-born Lecavalier was best known in Quebec, but was widely recognized as one of the top sports commentators in the history of Canadian radio and television.

``It’s a sad day. ... I don’t know of anybody who was respected more in all of the years he was the voice of the Canadiens,″ former Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau told the Montreal Gazette. ``He would describe what was happening and for days afterwards the people would still see it in their minds.″

Lecavalier joined Radio-Canada in 1937 as a war correspondent based in North Africa. Lecavalier hosted cultural radio shows for the CBC’s French-language division from 1941 to 1952.

Then, in 1952, the man who had dreamed of becoming a hockey player did the next best thing and became the radio commentator for the Canadiens until he retired in 1986.

Throughout his career, Lecavalier earned an enormous amount of respect for his attention to the proper use of French and excellent diction in sports coverage.

Aside from hockey, Lecavalier covered the Olympics from 1960 to 1984, with the exception of Munich in 1972 and Moscow in 1980. He also regularly covered the Commonwealth and Pan American games.

He was inducted into both the Hockey Hall of Fame and Quebec’s sports hall of fame, and was honored in 1996 with a lifetime achievement award from Sports Media Canada, the country’s sports press association.

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