It’s a nickname that might not rattle off the tongues of Penguin fans as easily as ‘Super Mario’ or ‘Sid the Kid,’ but long-time supporters of the team certainly remember the offensive exploits ‘Lucky Pierre’ Larouche brought to the then-Civic Arena during the mid-1970s.
Larouche, the Penguins’ first-round draft pick in the 1974 National Hockey League Entry Draft, burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old rookie in 1974-75 with 31 goals and 68 points. He followed that up the next season by becoming the first Penguin to surpass both the 50-goal (53) and 100-point (111) marks in a single campaign.
Thanks to those gaudy numbers, Larouche was one of 15 former Penguins honored on Friday with a selection to the Penguins’ Trib Total Media All-Time Team at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Trib Total Media All-Time Team Zone is an interactive display located just inside the Trib Total Media Gate at CONSOL Energy Center. The 15 players selected to comprise the All-Time Team were chosen in large part by fan voting conducted by the Tribune Review.
“It’s great to hear that the fans were the ones who voted,” Larouche said. “It’s very humbling that they voted to put me on the team.
“If you look at the names on this wall – starting with Mario and Jaromir (Jagr) and going on down the line – there are some great names. I played with Syl (Apps), Dave (Burrows) and Prony (Jean Pronovost). Kevin (Stevens) was the first power forward the league ever saw. Tommy (Barrasso) and Larry (Murphy) won Stanley Cups. This is very special to be included with these names.”
Larouche, who racked up 119 goals and 253 points in 240 games with the Penguins between 1974-77, couldn’t thank Penguins president David Morehouse and Trib Total Media enough for coming up with what he thinks is the perfect way for the fans of today to come learn and appreciate some of the players and builders who helped make the Penguins such a popular and successful franchise.
“This allows the kids to see the things that happened before the Cups in ’91 and ’92,” Larouche said. “There were players who carried the flag for some good teams, but we just weren’t fortunate enough to win the Cup. It’s really nice that dads can come, tell their kids these are the guys I saw play and then push the numbers to show their kids the former players.”
|Pierre Larouche shows off his interactive display to reporters on Friday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center. |
Larouche, who resides in Mt. Lebanon with his wife, Cindi, was blown away by the beauty of CONSOL Energy Center, which he toured prior to Friday’s media conference.
“The rink is unbelievable,” Larouche said. “People who have not seen it yet are going to be so happy with it. When you walk in it is like WOW! The dressing room is so awesome. I was ready to come back for the dressing room alone. This is a pretty special building.”
Even more special for Larouche is knowing when his family and friends visit CONSOL Energy Center, they will be able to see and appreciate the many accomplishments from his Penguins’ career.
“My family – my kids, my nieces and nephews and their kids – they will be able to come here and say, ‘Uncle Pierre did something,’” Larouche said. “This makes my hockey career full.”