MONTREAL – After 12 seasons in the NHL, Georges Laraque hung up his skates and gloves Monday as he prepares to tackle a long list of humanitarian and environmental causes.
Even though the 33-year-old has been planning his new career for some time now, it was two herniated discs that finally pushed him into retirement.
"It's one of the two reasons that helped me make the decision, really," he said. "It's not worth going back to the game and running the risk of being paralyzed. I had a bunch of offers and I could have continued in the International League or in Russia, but I didn't want to take the risk."
The other reason for Laraque's retirement is the urge to lend a helping hand.
The former enforcer continues to promote veganism, as he has done for the last year and a half, as well as work for environmental causes. His new job as deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada will allow him to put his celebrity to use, even though he admits he has a total lack of experience in politics.
Lastly, Laraque plans to keep up his support for Haiti, especially the reconstruction efforts for the Grace Hospital in Port-au-Prince, which was completely destroyed during January's earthquake.
"In the end, I'm going to have a busier schedule than when I was playing hockey. But I'm like that. I need to keep myself busy and to try to change things. To the people who say I'm doing too much, I say that I'm acting for those who aren't doing enough."
Does the famous NHL brawler plan to follow hockey now that he's officially out of the game?
"No. Well, a bit," he admitted. "I watch the news reports but watching a hockey game, never. I have too many things to get done to sit for three hours and watch a game. I need to move."