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Offside with Jason LaBarbera

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
BC native, Jason LaBarbera returned to British Columbia, where he grew up, in January and clears up the rumour of his actual hometown.

LaBarbera started his career in the east with New York but returned to the west coast when he joined the LA Kings. He's finally made his way home and Vancouver's glad to have him.

Get to know the newest Canuck and go offside with Jason LaBarbera.

If the team participated on the show Survivor, who would win?

It’s too early to tell, for me, but I think I’m going to go with Willie Mitchell because he just seems like an outdoorsy type of guy.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I’d like to fly – that’d be kind of fun. Instead of sitting in traffic everywhere, you’d get to fly everywhere.

If you could have dinner with any one person, who would you choose?

James Hetfield – the lead singer from Metallica because they’re my favourite band. I got to meet them a couple weeks ago so getting to spend more time with them would be kind of cool.

My girlfriend set up the meeting as a surprise Christmas present because she knows how much I love them. I have all their artwork on my helmet and I have a tattoo of one of their album cover.

She set it up through the Kings PR staff and then they got a hold of their PR people. It was pretty sweet. I’ve seen them about six times in concert – twice just this summer and once a couple week again LA.

What is your favourite non-hockey sports team?

Toronto Blue Jays by far. I love the Jays – I watch them everyday in the summer. I like baseball and they’ve had a good team the last couple of years. They’re stuck in the worst division in baseball with the Yankees and the Red Sox and now Tampa so that part’s frustrating because they play against all those teams. I love them, I watch them religiously.

I’ve never been out to Toronto to watch a game actually because I haven’t time with my summers but I’ve seen them play in Boston and New York when I was out east playing in Connecticut and New Hampshire. It was cool to see the Jays play at Fenway and Yankee stadium.

What question do you always get asked?

Well, people always think I’m from Burnaby but I was only born there and never actually lived there so everyone thinks that’s my hometown.

So, what is your hometown?

Prince George but I grew up in Abbotsford and Langley.

What is your favourite thing about your hometown?

The lakes. Not any one in particular but just the amount of them because there are so many up in northern BC in Prince George. It’s just a bit different from LA... and I live in Calgary in the summer and it’s different than there too.

Who was your favourite athlete growing up?

I love Michael Jordan - I even had a Bulls jacket. I’m a huge sports fan so I love it all. Just watching how he would take over a game, no athlete has ever done that, I don’t think.

What is the best quote from a movie?

Tic tac, sir from Dumb and Dumber

Bugs me when my parents...

Are nosy.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

I listen to the same Metallica song before every game. One of them is “Outlaw Torn” that I listen to for eight years before every game. Now that the new album’s out, I listen to “Unforgiven III”. I lay on the floor right when I wake up from my nap before I come to the rink.

Did you play any other sports?

I played baseball until I was about 10 or 11 years old but hockey was always my thing. I always liked basketball and I started playing lacrosse too but hockey was always my first choice.

What was your first NHL game?

The first ever game I got into was in Pittsburgh when I was with the Rangers back in 2000 when I was 20. It was back when Kirk McLean, a guy I molded my game after as a kid, so it was kind of cool to back him up.

As a kid, he was the guy I watched growing up and he got pulled in the last ten minutes of the game. The game was completely of hand so I went in, played ten minutes and that was my very first pro game. The game was 8-4 and the coach, who was Ron Low at the time, came down and said “Kid, get in there” and I was like, “Okay, yes sir”.

The game ended up being 8-6 – two shots, two saves.

If you were the NHL commissioner for a day, what would be the first thing you would do?

Market the game better and market the players better. When you think about the other sports, you know them as Manny, Kobe, and Shaq, guys don’t have that name and value.

They don’t put guys in commercials, they don’t have them on tv or in magazines, they don’t show their history or background of how they grew up and give the fans an idea of what guys are like. I think I'd like to see that more.

Nothing else matters
LaBarbera signs

Henning on LaBarbera
Getting a start
A debut


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