Laraque in 2016
December 7, 1976|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Weight||273 lb (124 kg; 19 st 7 lb)|
31st overall, 1995|
|Playing career||1996–2010, 2015|
|Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada|
July 31, 2010 - October 17, 2013
Serving with Elizabeth May
Georges Edy Laraque (French pronunciation: [? la?ak]; born December 7, 1976) is a Canadian sports commentator, politician, and former ice hockey player. Laraque previously retired from hockey on August 10, 2010, after the Montreal Canadiens bought out his contract. He is a commentator for TVA Sports and most recently executive director of the fledgling Canadian Hockey League Players' Association. During his 14-year 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.
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.
After finishing junior, Laraque spent parts of two 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 reassigned to the AHL.
A year later, with much hard work to improve his game, 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.
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. 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. 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.
Laraque came out of retirement in January 16, 2015, joining Norway's Lokomotiv Fana, where he played two games before retiring again.
On February 13, 2010, Laraque joined the Green Party of Canada. On July 31, 2010, Laraque was officially named one of the party's Deputy Leaders. On July 9, 2013 he announced he would run for the federal Green Party in the by-election in Bourassa. On October 17, 2013 Laraque resigned as deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada and as candidate in Bourassa riding.
Laraque's parents were both born in Haiti and immigrated to Canada; he was born in Montreal, Quebec. During his NHL career, he was nicknamed "Big Georges", sometimes shortened to "BGL". His brother Jules-Edy Laraque played ice hockey in minor leagues, while his cousin Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre played in the NHL and various European leagues.
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 commits considerable time to local charity work to help the people of Edmonton, Pittsburgh, and Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
Laraque became a vegan in 2009 to protest animal abuse by the meat industry. He is an investor in two raw vegan restaurants called Crudessence. and part-owner of the Delicieux Cafe Veg Fusion restaurant.
On May 21, 2010, Laraque squared off with world welterweight mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Georges St-Pierre for three rounds of grappling for takedowns on TSN TV show Off The Record. Laraque did not score any takedowns. The same year, Laraque appeared in Season 2 of CBC's Battle of the Blades with partner Anabelle Langlois.
On November 8, 2011, Laraque published an autobiography entitled Georges Laraque: The Story of the NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy.
On July 9, 2012, Perry Boskus, president of a Florida-based company that produced synthetic ice sheets which Laraque sold in Canada, issued a press release accusing the player of fraud. One day later, Boskus retracted these allegations.
On November 17, 2014, Laraque challenged Quebec Women's cycling champion Lex Albrecht to a bike race up Mount Royal. Laraque required medical attention following the race, which he lost to Albrecht.
On October 15, 2016, Laraque co-founded Mentorum (www.mentorum.co) with Jason Frohlich. A health and fitness company.
Laraque now owns a series of health and fitness related businesses, including "Rise" Kombucha and his own vegan restaurant in Montreal.
|1995-96||Laval Titan Collège Français||QMJHL||11||8||13||21||76||--||--||--||--||--|