Georges Laraque


My season with Wayne
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Even though I only played from the beginning of the 2007 season to the trade deadline I will never forget my time with the Coyotes because I played for one of the greatest players of all time, Wayne Gretzky. I'm not going to lie, it was weird at times to realize that he was my coach, but nevertheless this is again something that I will always cherish when I retire. I played for his old team where he broke all the NHL records and was there for his jersey retirement in Edmonton, so when he called me when I was a free agent and asked me to play for him, you don't ever say no to the Great One! Phoenix is also a great place to play because of the weather, maybe the best in the league. It was always a great vacation spot for me in the summer and when I was playing there, it felt pretty amazing.

The big problem for me when I played there was that I felt we were going nowhere. I had just played eight seasons in Edmonton where we either made the playoffs, or when we didn't, we were close until the end of the season and playing playoff hockey to make that push for a spot in the post season. But in Phoenix, halfway through the year, we were pretty much done and the attitude was much different. Another thing I found difficult was playing in front of an empty stadium. Phoenix has one of the most beautiful rinks in the NHL, but every game it's almost half empty. For a tough guy, that's definitely not fun because one of the best things about your job is to hear the fans and see them on their feet when you fight, but when the rink is half empty, it's not really motivating. Because of all this, at the trade deadline, I requested a trade and my wish was granted when I was dealt to Pittsburgh!