Georges Laraque

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Georges Laraque
Georges Laraque.png
Laraque pictured during his time as a member of the Montreal Canadiens
Born (1976-12-07) December 7, 1976 (age 37)
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 273 lb (124 kg; 19 st 7 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Edmonton Oilers
Phoenix Coyotes
Pittsburgh Penguins
Montreal Canadiens
NHL Draft 31st overall, 1995
Edmonton Oilers
Playing career 1996–2010
Georges Laraque
Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 31, 2010
Serving with Adriane Carr
Personal details
Occupation Retired professional ice hockey player in the NHL

Georges Edy Laraque (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɔʁʒ laʁak]; born December 7, 1976 in Montreal, Quebec) 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 a commentator for TVA Sports and most recently executive director of the fledgling Canadian Hockey League Players' Association.[1] During his National Hockey League (NHL) career he played for the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens. From 2010 to 2013 he was one of two deputy leaders of the Green Party of Canada.

Hockey career[edit]

Laraque entered the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (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. Georges Laraques' middle name Edy was confirmed in his autobiography book "The Story of the NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy"

After finishing junior, Laraque spent parts of three seasons with the American Hockey League's (AHL) Hamilton Bulldogs. On October 25, 1996, Laraque was involved in his first professional fight taking on Chris LiPuma of the Kentucky Thoroughblades.

On September 15, 1997 in a pre-season game, Laraque fought established heavyweight fighter Donald Brashear of the Vancouver Canucks in an attempt to impress the coaching staff. On November 15, 1997, Laraque was called up to the NHL and took part in his first career fight against Todd Simpson of the Calgary Flames. Laraque won the fight and would be victorious in four others before being re-assigned to the AHL.

A year later, despite concerns about his skating, Laraque showed enough at the AHL-level for Edmonton to bring him to the NHL on a regular basis. Although he was something of a power forward in junior hockey, 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.

Laraque with the Penguins, April 2008.

During the 2004-2005 NHL lockout, he played in Sweden, signing on with AIK. The following season with the Oilers, on November 23, 2005 in a game against the Minnesota Wild. Laraque defeated the 6'7" 260 pound Derek Boogaard. 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 for agitating prospect Daniel Carcillo. Laraque's former junior coach and Penguins coach at the time Michel Therrien was heavily involved in this decision and believed that he was needed to protect the young stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

On July 3, 2008, Laraque signed a contract as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens. He elected to wear number 17 with the Canadiens 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.[2] On November 21, 2009 Laraque was suspended 5 games after hitting Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall with a knee to knee hit. On December 12, 2009, Laraque would enter his final fight taking on Eric Boulton of the Atlanta Thrashers. On January 21, 2010 the Montreal Canadiens released Laraque and announced they were planning to buy out the remainder of his contract.[3] His contract was officially bought out on June 15, 2010.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

While playing with the Oilers, Laraque was famous for his "Laraque Leap", in which he would smash his body against the glass at the Rexall Place after the Oilers scored a goal.[7]

Political career[edit]

On February 13, 2010, Laraque joined the Green Party of Canada.[8][9] On July 31, 2010, Laraque was officially named one of the party's Deputy Leaders.[10] On July 9, 2013 he announced he would run for the federal Green Party in the by-election in Bourassa.[11] On October 17, 2013 Laraque resigned as deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada and as candidate in Bourassa riding.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Laraque's parents were both born in Haiti.[13] He is known as "Big Georges" or simply "BGL". Laraque became a vegan in 2009 to protest animal abuse by the meat industry. He owns two raw vegan restaurants called Crudessence.[14][15]

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 The Team 1260, an afternoon radio sports program 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.

Laraque struggled as a young black athlete in a predominantly white sport. He faced numerous challenges growing up, and was always forced to deal with the racism around him. The racism became so vitriolic that Laraque’s dad pulled him out of hockey for a year when he was twelve. Laraque loved hockey and decided to play again despite the fact that he was treated poorly by his opponents, who swore and spat 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.[16]

On May 21, 2010, Laraque squared off with world welterweight mixed martial arts champion Georges St.-Pierre for three rounds of grappling for takedowns on TSN TV show Off The Record. Laraque did not score a single takedown.

In 2010, Laraque appeared in Season 2 of CBC's Battle of the Blades with partner Anabelle Langlois.

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.[17]

On November 8, 2011, Laraque released his first book, an autobiography entitled Georges Laraque: The story of the NHL's unlikliest tough guy.

On July 9, 2012, Perry Boskus, president of a Florida-based company that produced synthetic ice sheets that Laraque sold in Canada, issued a press release accusing Laraque of fraud. One day later, Boskus retracted the fraud allegations.[18]

Transactions[edit]

  • Drafted by the Oilers on July 8, 1995 (second round, #31 pick overall).
  • Signed with Phoenix as a free agent on July 5, 2006.
  • Traded to Pittsburgh on February 27, 2007 for Daniel Carcillo and 2008 third-round pick (#90 overall, used on Tomáš Kundrátek).
  • Signed with Montreal as a free agent on July 3, 2008.
  • Retired on August 2, 2010

Achievements[edit]

Awards[edit]

Laraque receives Community Service Award during a pregame ceremony, April 2008.

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1993–94 Saint-Jean Lynx QMJHL 70 11 11 22 142 4 0 0 0 7
1994–95 Saint-Jean Lynx QMJHL 62 19 22 41 259 7 1 1 2 42
1995–96 Laval Titan Collège Français QMJHL 11 8 13 21 76
1995–96 Saint-Hyacinthe Lasers QMJHL 8 3 4 7 59
1995–96 Granby Prédateurs QMJHL 22 9 7 16 125 18 7 6 13 104
1996–97 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 73 14 20 34 179 15 1 3 4 12
1997–98 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 46 10 20 30 154 3 0 0 0 11
1997–98 Edmonton Oilers NHL 11 0 0 0 59
1998–99 Edmonton Oilers NHL 39 3 2 5 57 4 0 0 0 2
1998–99 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 25 6 8 14 93
1999–00 Edmonton Oilers NHL 76 8 8 16 123 5 0 1 1 6
2000–01 Edmonton Oilers NHL 82 13 16 29 148 6 1 1 2 8
2001–02 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 5 14 19 157
2002–03 Edmonton Oilers NHL 64 6 7 13 110 6 1 3 4 4
2003–04 Edmonton Oilers NHL 66 6 11 17 99
2005–06 Edmonton Oilers NHL 72 2 10 12 73 15 1 1 2 44
2006–07 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 56 5 17 22 52
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 17 0 2 2 18 2 0 0 0 0
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 71 4 9 13 141 15 1 2 3 4
2008–09 Montreal Canadiens NHL 33 0 2 2 61 4 0 0 0 4
2009–10 Montreal Canadiens NHL 28 1 2 3 28
NHL totals 695 53 100 153 1126 57 4 8 12 72

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Macleod, Robert (21 August 2012). "Georges Laraque named executive director of junior hockey players union". Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Hickey, Pat (2008-10-27). "Laraque brings missing fear factor". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  3. ^ "NHL Canadiens to part ways with winger Laraque". TSN.ca. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  4. ^ "Canadiens buy out Georges Laraque". National Hockey League. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  5. ^ Georges Laraque (10 August 2010). "Georges Blog August 10, 2010". Georges Blog. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Georges Laraque (25 January 2010). "Georges Blog January 25, 2010". Georges Blog. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Weekes, Don Hardcore Hockey Trivia, Greystone Books, Vancouver, 2004
  8. ^ "NHL star player Georges Laraque joins the Green Party of Canada | Green Party of Canada". Greenparty.ca. 2010-02-13. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  9. ^ Murphy, Jessica (2010-02-13). "Ex-Hab Georges Laraque joins forces with Green Party". Globe and Mail (Montreal, Quebec: CTVglobemedia). Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  10. ^ "Green Party names ex-NHLer Laraque deputy leader". CBC News. July 31, 2010. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Ex-NHL player Georges Laraque taking a shot at politics". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Ex-NHL enforcer Georges Laraque hangs up political skates to fight fraud charges". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). October 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Georges Laraque concerned about family in Haiti". Kelowna.com. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  14. ^ "Georges Laraque profile". GeorgesLaraque.com. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  15. ^ Nicoud, Anabelle (2010-08-15). "Fierté gaie: un défilé de toutes les couleurs". La Presse (Montreal, Quebec: Gesca). Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  16. ^ "Georges Laraque’s Struggles with Racism". Everyjoe.com. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  17. ^ "Canada Reads with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio". Cbc.ca. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  18. ^ "CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey - News: Laraque incensed by accusations". Slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 

External links[edit]