|Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada|
July 31, 2010
Serving with Adriane Carr
December 7, 1976 |
|Occupation||Retired professional ice hockey player in the NHL|
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 a commentator for TVA Sports, deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada and most recently executive director of the fledgling Canadian Hockey League Players' Association. During his NHL career he played for the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens. Laraque was born in the city of Montreal, Quebec.
Hockey career 
December 7, 1976 |
Montreal, QC, CAN
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight||245 lb (111 kg; 17 st 7 lb)|
|Played for||Edmonton Oilers
|NHL Draft||31st overall, 1995
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 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.
During the 2004-2005 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 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. 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 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.
Political career 
Personal life 
Laraque's parents were both born in Haiti. 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.
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 predominately 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 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, Laraque squared off with world welterweight mixed martial arts champion Georges St.-Pierre for 3 rounds of grappling for takedowns on TSN TV show Off The Record. Laraque did not score a single takedown.
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.
- 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
Career statistics 
|1995–96||Laval Titan Collège Français||QMJHL||11||8||13||21||76||—||—||—||—||—|
See also 
- List of Montreal athletes
- List of famous Montrealers
- List of black NHL players
- List of Pittsburgh Penguins players
- Macleod, Robert (21 August 2012). "Georges Laraque named executive director of junior hockey players union". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Hickey, Pat (2008-10-27). "Laraque brings missing fear factor". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- "NHL Canadiens to part ways with winger Laraque". TSN.ca. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- "Canadiens buy out Georges Laraque". NHL. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Georges Laraque (10 August 2010). "Georges Blog August 10, 2010". Georges Blog. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- Georges Laraque (25 January 2010). "Georges Blog January 25, 2010". Georges Blog. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Weekes, Don “Hardcore Hockey Trivia”, Greystone Books, Vancouver, 2004
- "NHL star player Georges Laraque joins the Green Party of Canada | Green Party of Canada". Greenparty.ca. 2010-02-13. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- Murphy, Jessica (2010-02-13). "Ex-Hab Georges Laraque joins forces with Green Party". Globe and Mail (Montreal, Quebec: CTVglobemedia). Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- "Green Party names ex-NHLer Laraque deputy leader". CBC News. July 31, 2010.
- "Georges Laraque concerned about family in Haiti". Kelowna.com. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- "Georges Laraque profile". GeorgesLaraque.com. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
- Nicoud, Anabelle (2010-08-15). "Fierté gaie: un défilé de toutes les couleurs". La Presse (Montreal, Quebec: Gesca). Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Canada Reads with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio". Cbc.ca. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- "Georges Laraque’s Struggles with Racism". Everyjoe.com. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- "CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey - News: Laraque incensed by accusations". Slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
|Wikinews has related news: Georges Laraque|
- Georges Laraque official site
- Georges Laraque's player profile at NHL.com
- Georges Laraque's player profile at TSN.ca
- Georges Laraque's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Georges Laraque's fight info - hockeyfights.com