Thousands of people gather to say goodbye to Guy Lafleur at the Bell Center in Montreal

Thousands of Quebecers are taking the opportunity today to bid their last farewell to hockey legend Guy Lafleur.

The first of two public tours will take place at the Bell Center in Montreal until 8 p.m. Sunday, followed by the second Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A state funeral will also be held on Tuesday.

Lafleur died just over a week ago at the age of 70 following a battle with lung cancer.

He led the Canadiens to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s and is still the all-time leader for the Canadiens. He had battled health issues, including a recurrence of lung cancer in 2020.

“Quebecers my age will certainly never forget it,” said Quebec Premier François Legault during a speech at the Bell Center.

“I remember the times I spent with my dad watching Guy Lafleur and hearing the crowd chanting his name,” he said. “That was something.”

He said he wanted to see more kids get into the sport, saying more needs to be done to attract them.

“There was Maurice Richard — that was before me — and Guy Lafleur. And now we’re looking forward to our next superstar,” he said.

A state funeral for Lafleur will be held Tuesday at Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral in downtown Montreal, beginning at 11 a.m.

National funerals are reserved for “people who, for example, have had an impact on political life, as decided by the government”, specifies the province. The state funeral announcement for Lafleur follows similar honors for other Canadiens icons, Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau, in 2000 and 2014 respectively.