Video: Paying tribute to ’Le Gros Bill’

Montrealers talk about their ties to hockey legend Jean Béliveau
Elise Beliveau is consoled by her daughter Helene as she is overcome by emotion as she stands next to her husband Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau’s empty seat, during a ceremony prior to facing the Vancouver Canucks in NHL hockey action Tuesday, December 9, 2014 in Montreal. Beliveau died last week at the age of 83. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Thousands of people braved the cold (and an often hour-long lineup) to pay their last respects to Jean Béliveau.

For two days the northern half of Montreal’s Bell Centre, the home of the Montreal Canadiens, was cloaked in black; Béliveau’s seat, draped in his No. 4 jersey, was lit up by two spotlights from above. Visitors walked a red carpet  to Béliveau’s flower-strewn coffin. Members of the family of ‘Le Gros Bill’ quietly shook their hands.

Outside, well-wishers filled guestbooks before going back into the frigid city that Béliveau helped make proud.

In this video, friends and fans talk about their deep connection to the hockey legend:

A funeral will be held on Wednesday at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral near the Bell Centre.

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