SUN Hockey Pool

Laraque will be missed

MAX MAUDIE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Edmonton tough-guy Georges Laraque says if the hockey season gets axed, he'll pull up skates and head for Sweden.

And that saddens several Edmonton charity and community organizations. They'll miss the big guy's big heart.

"Georges once said to me, 'Whatever you need, Brian, just call me,' " Salvation Army Capt. Brian Venables said yesterday.

Laraque gave him his personal cell number, said Venables, adding not every celebrity supporter provides that.

Venables remembers a trip Laraque made to the Salvation Army's Clareview office. He visited kids attending the after-school homework club.

Laraque took the time to talk to every kid, Venables said. "He was there for them. He engaged them. That says a lot."

Laraque currently wears many hats. He's got a radio show on Edmonton's Joe FM that runs Fridays evenings. His show would be replaced should Laraque leave, Joe's program director Boyd Leader said.

"He's a popular figure in the community. Of course, we would miss that."

Leader added it was always understood Laraque's career came first.

Laraque also helps police educate kids through their DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.

"His presence will definitely be missed," said police spokesman Andy Weiler. "He talks (to kids) about why he's decided to go alcohol and drug free. And kids really look up to him."

Laraque shares time with the Stollery Children's Hospital, too. He was their poster boy for a project launched two years ago to educate the public about shaken baby syndrome.

"He'll be missed," said Pam Brown, a spokesman for the Stollery foundation. "We look forward to seeing him again."


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