Guy Lafleur lies in state as Montreal Canadiens fans pay respects

Habs fans are saying their final goodbyes to Guy Lafleur on Sunday as the late hockey legend lies in state at Montreal's Bell Centre.

Nicknamed, "the Flower," the Montreal Canadiens icon played for the team for 14 years during the 70s and 80s and helped bring home five Stanley Cup trophies. He remains the all-time scoring leader for the Habs.

Lafleur died at the age of 70 on April 22 following a battle with lung cancer.

"Out of respect for the public, which has supported Guy over the years, the Lafleur family has agreed to share their grief with the community. And in keeping with the family's wishes, all activities will reflect the image of the late hockey legend: they will be humble and accessible," the Montreal Canadians said in a statement last week.

Thousands of fans lined up outside the Bell Centre to pay their last respects to the hockey legend on Sunday. The long lineup was filled with numerous sweaters emblazoned with #10 – Lafleur’s number. Members of the public were able to pay their respects on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., and will be able to do so on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Long-time fan Barry Weedmark told CTV News that Lafleur had been his childhood hero growing up, and that he had met him once in 1995.

Another fan who came from Lafleur’s hometown of Thurso said that it was “an honour” to see Lafleur’s name and image around town and that Lafleur was always spreading happiness.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault also made a visit to Lafleur's casket on Sunday.

“I remember moments I had with my father, watching the game and hearing the crowd saying ‘Guy Guy Guy,’” he said. “That was something, that was something.”

It was a chant that went up often in the crowd outside the Bell Centre waiting for their moment to say goodbye.

That emotion and admiration is something that one father in the crowd said he wants to pass on to the next generation.

“My father told me about him,” the fan told CTV News. “He was a superstar of his time, he was an idol for all the country, awesome.”

Legault announced last weekend that the Quebec government would honour Lafleur with a national funeral, reserved for Quebecers who make significant contributions to the province.

"(It's) sad, of course. He was only 70 years old. I'm 64, so It's scary," he told reporters at the Bell Centre on Sunday afternoon. "I lost my father young. He was 59 years old. So, at the same time I remember moments I had with my father, watching Guy Lafleur and hearing the crowd saying 'Guy, Guy, Guy!'"

The funeral is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.

The Canadiens failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs this year but ended the season with a bang, scoring 10 goals against the Florida Panthers on Friday night -- 10 like the number on the back of Lafleur's jersey.

"Friday night, we had 10 goals. Some people said it's because of Guy Lafleur. Now, everything with the number 10 (is) Guy Lafleur," Legault said.

With files from CTV News Montreal, CTVNews.ca's Alexandra Mae Jones and CTV National News' Genevieve Beauchemin

Comme beaucoup, je me suis rendu au Centre Bell pour dire au revoir à Guy Lafleur aujourd'hui. Ému de voir autant de monde qui se sont déplacés pour rendre hommage à leur héros.
Merci pour tout, Guy! Merci de nous avoir inspirés et rendus fiers. On ne t’oubliera jamais! pic.twitter.com/GUGMT14YKU

— François Legault (@francoislegault) May 1, 2022