The Pittsburgh Penguins have nominated Georges Laraque for the 2007-08 NHL Foundation Player Award, in recognition of Laraque’s exceptional commitment to the community and devotion to charitable projects.
The award is presented annually to the NHL player “who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
In addition to taking a lead role in all of the Penguins’ charitable and community events, Laraque also has developed a unique working relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and has been involved in the Hockey in the Hood inner-city hockey program, among other projects.
Laraque’s commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs this season included personal visits to nine clubs throughout the Pittsburgh region, talking to kids about making the right decisions in life and providing positive reinforcement. He also signed autographs and participated in pickup floor hockey games. As part of the “Play It Smart” program, each child received a “Play It Smart” Laraque #27 T-shirt.
“I have been on staff with the Boys and Girls Clubs for over 39 years and have never been more impressed with any professional athlete as I am with Pittsburgh Penguins player Georges Laraque,” said Mike Hepler, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania. “His actions on behalf of our agency go beyond just being a role model. He demonstrated to the young people what “giving back” is all about and inspired them to reach for the stars.”
Hepler credits Laraque with “creating an army of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey fans.”
This is the 10th season that the NHL will present the Foundation Player award. Last season’s winner was Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche.