QUEBEC CITY (AP) -- Maurice Richard's name has been dropped from consideration for a new Montreal bridge at the request of the late Montreal Canadiens great's family.
''After discussions with Richard's family and, in order to respect their wishes, it was agreed the name of Maurice Richard would be withdrawn from consideration,'' federal infrastructure minister Denis Lebel said Thursday. ''I would like to say to the family that I hope the coming hours will be more calm.''
Set to open in 2018, the bridge will replace the crumbling Champlain Bridge, named after explorer Samuel de Champlain. The Champlain Bridge, built in 1962, links Montreal with its south shore.
''We recognize the importance of Samuel de Champlain in the history of Quebec,'' Lebel said. ''No one ever wanted to show a lack of respect.''
Lebel added it was too bad that ''two symbols, two giants of history'' ended up in competition.
Lebel said the new structure will not necessarily bear Champlain's name.