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In a lot of ways, Georges Laraque is not what he seems: a former hockey enforcer, who didn't like to fight. A 6-foot-3, 250-pound, hockey-playing vegan (that's a lot of quinoa). And then, there's the simple fact that he was a black man playing hockey, a fact that shouldn't matter - except, unfortunately for Georges, it did.
Growing up near Montreal, the son of Haitian immigrants, he faced brutal racism as a kid. So Georges learned to fight, out of self-defence. By the time he made the National Hockey League, dropping the gloves was a big part of his career. In fact it was his job, and the only way for him to stay in the NHL. But Georges never enjoyed fighting; to him, the prospect of a fight was just plain frightening. So what's it like to wake up every day and face that kind of fear?
One outlet for Georges was volunteer work, and since his retirement last year, Georges has kept busy. He became deputy leader of the Green Party; campaigned with Elizabeth May, and, in the past two years, Georges has made multiple trips to Haiti, raising money for earthquake relief. He also waded into the hockey-fighting debate, and when Don Cherry attempted to echo Georges' sentiments, Grapes got himself into a heap of trouble.
Now, there's a new memoir: 'Georges Laraque: The Story of the NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy'. It's a book that goes a long way in explaining why Georges Laraque isn't one to back down from a fight, on the ice and off.