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Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque in his Edmonton home on Friday, September 2, 2011. (John Ulan For The Globe and Mail)
Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque in his Edmonton home on Friday, September 2, 2011. (John Ulan For The Globe and Mail)

Globe on Hockey

Why Georges Laraque is leaving the CHLPA Add to ...

Here are a few more points Laraque made on Thursday night:

– On what this fight was over: “I never said that the junior players were mistreated. I never said it wasn’t a good league. The two things I said was that, one, the 18th months they have [to use their education plan] is unacceptable. It should be four years. They know that every player that plays junior hockey wants to play a couple years in the ECHL or the AHL to try and make it. It’s unacceptable to have 18 months because you know they’re not going to take that scholarship. The second thing is, the NCAA... If they change the bylaw, then the players could go there. They won’t lose their eligibility, but the [CHL] are blocking it.”

– Why he did get involved: “I thought I could be part of something that could change junior hockey forever. Help kids get an education. That’s noble. That’s the imprint I want to leave on hockey. I played in the NHL for 13 years. I fought all those years. Now I can do something positive. And helping these kids have their own union is a noble cause.”

– On the CHL’s resistance: “If the league would have listened to us and just worked on those two things, it would have been fine. The union wasn’t trying to get everything but a couple little things... It was never about the money and [having a strike]. We could have done this without a union. But every time we sent a letter, they never wanted to talk to us. What they did was hire a private investigator, spend tons of money... congratulations they discredited the union working without professionals. That’s why we have to hand it over.”

– On the vote in Cape Breton on Friday: “Tomorrow I still have to go to the voting [for the Cape Breton team]. But obviously after what happened today... what do you think they said to [the players] after what happened today? But because it’s scheduled, I have to go there. I’m going to go to the meeting and see. They’re probably going to vote no, but it’s okay. It’s part of the process.”

– On Glenn Gumbley: “I didn’t hire anyone. Everyone was there from Day 1. Those people were there when I came in. But his brother was never involved. I’ve never seen him, I don’t know what he looks like and I’ve never talked to him... Because his brother had a record with the CHL, it was easy to destroy the reputation of the union with that.”

– On Derek Clarke: “Then after that people said Derek didn’t exist. The guy didn’t want to go on camera. He was uncomfortable. His wife saw that her husband ‘is a ghost’; she saw that all over the news. How do you think she felt? The guy has a real job and he worked his ass off for this [union] for free just to help these kids’ education and he has to endure that. So he had to go in front of the camera... He does that and then he gets criticized. Are you kidding me? It’s not his job. It just shows a team of inexperienced people [can’t do this] and you need a real team to do this. That’s why, when I think about all of this right now, it’s better to pass it on.”

– On the CHLPA’s failure: “We didn’t have many people who wanted to work for free. So we had a really hard time communicating and translating our message across Canada. We didn’t have enough people. It was hard to do. I put up about $10,000 of my own money to help people with their costs. I didn’t do this for money. But for a lot of people, that’s hard to believe.”

– On the future of the CHLPA: “I must have talked, no word of a lie, to about 700 players... The agents thought it was a great idea... It would have cost less [than minimum wage] to give [players] the four years extension of their education package. Education in Canada doesn’t cost what it does in the States. It’s cheaper to give that extension than have a $500,000 payroll every year. When you look at what the guys wanted, was that really unreasonable? To make it a story about all they want is money, saying they are treated well, you were drafted from there, why are you complaining – that’s not what this is about. It’s about education. For once. That’s what it was all about.”

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