Georges Laraque (born December 7, 1976) is a professional ice hockey forward, and a radio host for CFRN. He and teammate Francis Bouillon are among the very few NHL players of Haitian descent. He is currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League as an enforcer. He is also known as "Big George."
Born in New West Minster, Laraque entered the QMJHL, where he played for a variety of teams. In 173 games at the junior level, Laraque stockpiled 1 point and 842 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.
During the NHL lockout, he played in Sweden, signing on with Allmänna Idrottsklubben, which currently plays in the third highest division. 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.
On July 3, 2008, Laraque signed a contract as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens. He wears now the number 17 with the Canadien Hockey Club rather than his usual 27, which is currently Alexei Kovalev's number.
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 and Pittsburgh.
- Edmonton Oilers'
- Signed with Phoenix as a free agent in 2006
- Traded to Pittsburgh in 2007.
- July 3, 2008: Signed with Montreal Canadiens as free agent