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Georges Laraque

Former Hockey Heavyweight

As the first black hockey player from French Canada to play in the National Hockey League, Georges Laraque had to fight for his place in the game. His story of determination, love of the game, and perseverance in the face of racism, will inspire any audience. Laraques’ passion and charisma shine through his presentations and show how the most challenging situations can be used as motivation to succeed.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Presentations

The Story of The NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy
Think you know NHL tough guy Georges Laraque? Think again. In this intimate, often surprising, biography, Laraque tells the story of a hockey player’s life that is unlike any other, from a childhood facing racism in Quebec’s minor hockey system, to the thrill of the Stanley Cup Finals as an Edmonton Oiler, and sharing a dressing room with Sidney Crosby—and from dropping the gloves on the ice to refusing to back down from much more serious fights off the ice. Honest, startling, and brave, this is a portrait of a hockey player unlike any you’ve seen before.

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Summary Profile

Georges Laraque was the first black hockey player from French Canada to play in the National Hockey League (NHL).

An eleven year veteran of the NHL, in 2010 he became the Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada. Georges was born on in Montreal, Quebec and he grew up in Tracy, a small community outside Montreal. George began skating when he was five years old and grew up idolizing Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, but it was Jackie Robinson’s story that gave him the courage to face the challenges of being a minority in an almost all-white world of hockey.

While playing minor hockey as a child, Laraque was continually besieged with racist remarks from both players and spectators. Although his parents begged him to give up the game because the environment was so hostile, Laraque refused to quit. “I loved hockey so much,” he told the National Hockey League Web site. “I couldn’t quit even though the kids would say the N-word and tell me this wasn’t my sport so I couldn’t play. It wasn’t right so I used it as motivation. I kept playing to show them they were wrong. In my mind, if I had quit, that would have proved they were right.” Finally, when he was fourteen, his father moved the family into the more racially diverse city of Montreal, which became a turning point for Laraque’s game. First, he found a more open and accepting environment in which to play, and second, he began to mature into one of the biggest players on the ice. Growing to six-foot, three-inches and 230 pounds, Laraque was drafted into the NHL in 1995, and quickly formed his reputation as the league’s new enforcer. In 2008, he was named the number one enforcer by

Finally, when he was fourteen, his father moved the family into the more racially diverse city of Montreal, which became a turning point for Laraque’s game. First, he found a more open and accepting environment in which to play, and second, he began to mature into one of the biggest players on the ice. Growing to 6′ 3″ and 230 pounds, Laraque was drafted into the NHL in 1995, and quickly formed his reputation as the league’s new enforcer. In 2008, he was named the number one enforcer by Sports Illustrated. Over his career Laraque played for the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens. Off of the ice he is known for his outgoing and friendly personality. Committed and passionate about a number of causes, including animal welfare, relief effort in Haiti, sports, supporting youth, and promoting active, healthy lifestyles, he continues to be involved with numerous charities and hopes to serve as a positive role model to young people.

Over his career Laraque played for the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens. Off of the ice he is known for his outgoing and friendly personality. Committed and passionate about a number of causes, including animal welfare, relief effort in Haiti, sports, supporting youth, and promoting active, healthy lifestyles, he continues to be involved with numerous charities and hopes to serve as a positive role model to young people.