The government of Quebec announced Saturday that the national funeral for Guy Lafleur will be May 3.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. at the Marie-Reine-du Monde Cathedral in Montreal, around the corner from the Montreal Canadiens’ home arena: The Bell Centre.
“The Quebec flag on the central tower of the Parliament Building will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset,” the government said in a news release.
The Habs’ all-time points leader died on Friday at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer. He won five Stanley Cups with the Canadiens in 14 seasons playing with the team he grew up cheering for.
At Sunday night’s home game against the Boston Bruins, all Canadiens players will wear Lafleur’s no. 10 as a ceremonial patch on their jerseys. The team will also present a special pregame ceremony in memory of Lafleur.
Premier Francois Legault said after Lafleur’s death that he wanted to honour the legendary hockey player from Thurso, Que. with a national funeral and may rename a highway after him.
“This national funeral in tribute to the memory of Mr. Guy Lafleur bears witness to all the admiration and love that Quebecers have for him,” said Legault. “He marked our history and our national culture forever. We will pay him a well-deserved tribute for the great man he was.”
Before the funeral, Lafleur will be lying in state at the Bell Centre on May 1 from noon to 8 p.m. and on May 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fans wishing to honour Lafleur can also make a donation to the Guy Lafleur Fund for Cancer Research at the CHUM hospital where Lafleur received treatment.
NATIONAL AND STATE FUNERALS IN QUEBEC
The Quebec government has two types of provincial ceremonies after a person of note like Lafleur has died: state and national.
A national funeral in Quebec is one that honours people who have “made an impact on political life, as decided by the government,” according to the province’s definition.
“The ceremony is simpler,” the site on government protocol reads. “Flags are flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral from dawn to dusk.”
Habs legends Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Jean Beliveau were also granted national funerals when they died in 2000 and 2014 respectively.
A state funeral is the most formal and detailed ceremony and is generally reserved for former premiers and the president of the National Assembly.
At a state funeral, the Legislative Council Room at the National Assembly can be used for the lying in state of remains, and the flag of Quebec is flown at half-mast as soon as the death is announced, and kept as such until dusk on the day of the funeral.
Quebec provincial police (SQ) officers act as pallbearers, and the casket is draped with the Quebec flag.