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Sunday 26 October  
Georges Laraque, once NFL pro, is now Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Sydney Fordham's picture
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Montreal,
Montreal,

Georges Laraque - the enforcer

Published on : 30 November 2011 - 4:23pm | By Sydney Fordham (Photo: RNW)
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Georges Laraque has done the unexpected all his life. Growing up in Montreal, he battled racism before becoming a National Hockey League professional in a sport dominated at the time by white players. Comment on this story.

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The Laraques were the only black family living in Tracy, a small community outside Montreal. His Haitian parents were taken aback when a young Georges announced he wanted to take up ice hockey - which at the time was a very white and working-class sport. His family supported him, but he couldnt help feeling they would have preferred him to take up soccer.

Pain

Georges quickly encountered racism, not just from the fans in the stands, but also from coaches and teammates. He would often cry alone after a game, but kept the pain to himself, not wanting to show weakness.

Aged eight and on the verge of quitting, his sister gave him him a cartoon book featuring Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player. Georges realised that he could do for ice hockey what Robinson had done for baseball. He had a role model and a new goal: the National Hockey League.

Enforcer
Once in the big leagues, he was thrust into the role of 'enforcer'. Over his 12-year NHL career he was involved in some 130 fights - which took their toll physical, but not psychologically.

Georges found he was able to detach himself from the violence of the ice rink somewhat. He would joke around with opponents during the face-off, but was never took pride in ice hockey's macho image. As his career grew, he suffered from an increasing unease at what he felt was the promotion of violence.

Georges Laraque with Green Party of Canada leader  Elizabeth May
Georges Laraque with Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May
Vegan
Then at the height of his career, watching a documentary set in the slaughterhouses of the meat industry turned him into a committed vegan and green activist. He's now Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Taken from the latest edition of The State We're In - Tough Guys.

Discussion

Anonymous(LouisKellman) 16 December 2011 - 11:57pm / Canada

Toronto had a great Hokey Player who players Ju8nior in Quebec but could never, never get asked to try out for the Maple Leafs of Toronto. Carnegie wanted to play in his hometown but never did.Toronto now has players from all over the world as do most other
Racism is as active here as elsewhere but without the 'Coloreds' in America where would Basketball, American Football , or Baseball be?
Bananas are also being thrown on the Ice by nice civilized 'Christians'.

Anonymous(LouisKellman) 16 December 2011 - 11:57pm / Canada

Toronto had a great Hokey Player who players Ju8nior in Quebec but could never, never get asked to try out for the Maple Leafs of Toronto. Carnegie wanted to play in his hometown but never did.Toronto now has players from all over the world as do most other
Racism is as active here as elsewhere but without the 'Coloreds' in America where would Basketball, American Football , or Baseball be?
Bananas are also being thrown on the Ice by nice civilized 'Christians'.

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