Georges Laraque (French pronunciation: [ʒɔʁʒ laʁak]; born December 7, 1976) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey forward, who last played with the Montreal Canadiens before his contract was bought out in 2010. He is also a host for CFRN and deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada. During his NHL career he played for the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens. Georges Laraque was born in the city of Montreal, Quebec.
Hockey career[edit | edit source]
|6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
253 lb (115 kg)
|Teams||Edmonton Oilers |
|Born||December 7, 1976,|
Montreal, QC, Canada
|NHL Draft||31st overall, 1995|
|Pro Career||1996 – 2010|
Laraque entered the QMJHL, where he played for a variety of teams. In 173 games at the junior level, Laraque stockpiled 107 points and 661 penalty minutes. Laraque was a member of the 1996 Granby Prédateurs team which won the Memorial Cup.
Despite concerns about his skating, Laraque showed enough at the AHL-level for Edmonton to bring him to the NHL. Although he was something of a power forward in junior, Laraque is considered primarily as an enforcer at the NHL level. His 6'3" frame and his habit of fighting made him one of the most feared forwards in the league. He was unanimously awarded the 'Best Fighter' award from The Hockey News in 2003. He was named the number one enforcer by Sports Illustrated in 2008. Despite his reputation as a fighting-only player, Laraque has had offensive bursts during his career and on February 21, 2000, Laraque scored a hat trick against the Los Angeles Kings and was also named the game's first star.
During the NHL lockout, he played in Sweden, signing on with AIK. In the 2006 off-season, Laraque was up for free agency and wanted to stay in Edmonton and play. He even said he was willing to take a salary cut if the Oilers accepted on giving him a long-term, no-trade clause deal. The Oilers did not agree with Laraque's demand for a no-trade clause thus the contract was never signed. On July 5, 2006, Laraque signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. He scored his first goal as a Coyote against Edmonton on October 26, 2006. Laraque was then traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 2007-08 season.
On July 3, 2008, Laraque signed a contract as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens. He elected to wear number 17 with the Canadien Hockey Club rather than his usual 27, which was Alex Kovalev's number at the time. One of the main reasons why Montreal sought Laraque was to add toughness; in the previous year's playoffs, they had been outplayed physically by the Philadelphia Flyers, and in the first round, they had difficulty countering Boston Bruin Milan Lucic. On November 21, 2009 Laraque was suspended 5 games after hitting Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall with a knee to knee hit. On January 21, 2010, nine days after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Montreal Canadiens released Laraque and announced they were planning to buy out the remainder of his contract. His contract was officially bought out on June 15, 2010. Because Laraque had been suffering from two herniated discs in his back during the last season and a half that he had been playing, he subsequently announced his retirement from professional hockey. Laraque took advantage of being released by the Canadiens to offer his help to Haiti, his country of ancestry, and began raising money to rebuild the Grace Children's Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in association with World Vision and the NHLPA..
Personal life[edit | edit source]
In the off-season, Laraque resides in Edmonton, which he considers his home away from home. On Fridays during the off-season, Laraque can often be heard hosting Team 1260 in Edmonton. Laraque also commits a lot of his time to local charity work to help the local people of Edmonton, Pittsburgh and in response to the 2010 earthquake, the people of Haiti.
In 2011, Laraque took part in the CBC's Canada Reads literary competition as the celebrity defender for author Angie Abdou's The Bone Cage.
Laraque struggled as a young Black athlete in a predominately white sport. He faced numerous challenges growing up, and was always forced to deal with the racism around him. The racism got so bad and hate-filled when finally George’s dad pulled him out of hockey for a year when he was 12. Laraque loved hockey and decided to play again despite the fact that he was treated poorly by his opponents, who swore and spit at him on the ice. Laraque was widely known for fighting in the NHL, which he learned out of necessity as he grew up always having to defend himself. Laraque dedicated the fact that he made the NHL to all the people that verbally abused him growing up.
On May 21, 2010, Georges Laraque squared off with mixed martial artist Georges St.-Pierre for 3 rounds of grappling for takedowns on TSN TV show Off The Record. Laraque did not score a single takedown.
Laraque became vegan since he joined the Green Party of Canada.
Transactions[edit | edit source]
- Signed with Phoenix as a free agent in 2006
- Traded to Pittsburgh in 2007.
- Signed with Montreal as a free agent on July 3, 2008
- Retired on August 2, 2010
Career statistics[edit | edit source]
|1995–96||Laval Titan Collège Français||QMJHL||11||8||13||21||76||—||—||—||—||—|
References[edit | edit source]
- Hickey, Pat. "Laraque brings missing fear factor", Montreal Gazette, 2008-10-27. Retrieved on 2009-04-18.
- "NHL Canadiens to part ways with winger Laraque", TSN.ca, 2010-01-21. Retrieved on 2010-01-21.
- Canadiens buy out Georges Laraque. NHL (2010-06-15). Retrieved on 2010-06-15.
- Georges Laraque (10 August 2010). Georges Blog August 10, 2010. Georges Blog. Retrieved on 12 August 2010.
- Georges Laraque (25 January 2010). Georges Blog January 25, 2010. Georges Blog. Retrieved on 16 January 2011.
- Weekes, Don “Hardcore Hockey Trivia”, Greystone Books, Vancouver, 2004
- Georges Laraque concerned about family in Haiti. Kelowna.com (2010-01-14). Retrieved on 2010-01-14.
- Georges Laraque profile. GeorgesLaraque.com (2009-10-13). Retrieved on 2009-10-13.
- Nicoud, Anabelle. "Fierté gaie: un défilé de toutes les couleurs", Gesca, 2010-08-15. Retrieved on 2010-08-21.
- Teksavvy News
- CBC Canada Reads
[edit | edit source]
|Wikinews has related news: Georges Laraque|
- Georges Laraque official site
- Georges Laraque official twitter account
- Georges Laraque's NHL player profile
- Georges Laraque at TSN.ca
- Georges Laraque's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
- Georges Laraque's fight info - hockeyfights.com
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