Georges Laraque hasn’t laced up the skates to play professional hockey in five years, but he’s signed a deal to play his first professional game since the 2009-10 season.
Laraque, 38, has signed a one-week contract with Fana IHK of the Norwegian second division, and the team has given him nearly two months to prepare for the week long stint which will see the former NHL tough guy play a pair of games in March.
The deal with the club, which plays in Bergen, Norway, came about via a Facebook message, Laraque told Richard Labbe of La Presse.
“Their general manager sent me an offer through my Facebook account,” Laraque told La Presse. “He wanted to know if I was interested in going to finish the season with his team. At first I thought it was a joke, but he contacted me again. So I said yes.”
Laraque said to La Presse that the signing isn’t about the money, but rather about seeing the country and possibly turning the short stint into a contract in Europe next season. First, though, the now 299-pound Laraque wants to drop some weight.
Throughout his career, which was spent between Edmonton, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Montreal, Laraque generally played at roughly 250 pounds. He told La Presse that he wants to drop 40 pounds to get ready to play.
A rough translation from the Bergens Tidende says that Laraque has offered his services to help out in whatever way possible while he’s in Norway, and that the team has arranged for him to participate in a hockey camp for local children.
The translation also seems to state the Laraque won’t be paid much, if anything, for his time in Norway. Rather, the big bodied winger is simply requesting that half of whatever profit the team makes from his appearances during his time in the league go towards two charities, which appear to be Hockey Fights Cancer and the children’s ward at Haukeland University Hospital.
In 695 career games in the NHL, Laraque registered 53 goals and 153 points while racking up a gaudy 1,126 penalty minutes. He has only played four games overseas, scoring four goals and racking up four PIM in four games with Sweden’s AIK during the 2004-05 lockout.