Georges Laraque was born on December 7th at 11:06 am at St. Mary’s Hospital Center in Montreal. Her father, Edy, from Cap-Haitien, and her mother, Évelyne, from Port-au-Prince, came to live in Quebec in their 20s.
Jackie Robinson was an inspiration to him. In elementary school, in Tracy, he was shaped by the book about the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. His courage taught him never to give up and even less to justify racist statements. These comments became his source of motivation.
They were one of the first Haitian families in Tracy.
I would rather say the first blacks. I remember well the ten years of my childhood that I spent at 8755 rue D’Argenson in Tracy. The decision to live in Tracy was made because of the work of my father, an engineer by training and holder of three masters degrees, who found a job at Poudres Métalliques.
The belt shots were part of your father’s discipline.
It seems harsh today, but remember that it was part of the customs of child-rearing in Haiti back then. However, my mother was a gentle woman.
A memorable meeting of your father with the teachers.
He told them they could strap me in to discipline me. The teachers made him understand that this method was not part of the school’s disciplinary measures.
You and your sister were hyperactive.
So much so that the doctors wanted to prescribe us Ritalin. My father, who had just arrived from Haiti, threatened to come to school with an ax if they ever gave us medicine.
Why did you have to choose between your father and your mother?
My parents are divorced. When I was 10 years old, the judge summoned me to appear in court. He asked me to vote on behalf of my sister Daphney, my brother Jules-Edy and myself who would have custody of the children.
Why did you choose your father?
Yes my father was very strict but I thought he would be the best person to guide us through our lives.
You were popular at school.
At school I was at the top of my class and popular with the students. When I attended Collège Brébeuf, I loved studying theater. In minor hockey, however, I was a misplaced black man, even though I performed well at my position.
They were continuously downgraded by one category.
Even though I was the best player in the training camp, I kept getting demoted from a category in which I then dominated.
You missed an entire season of minor hockey.
My father decided to take me out of the pee category because he was afraid that the hatred I lived in hockey would affect me when I was older.
You have practiced several sports.
Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, athletics and group swimming, football and without a doubt my favorite sport, football. In fact, my father timed our time, my sister and I, on the track to make sure we were improving each week because he wanted us to be in good physical condition.
You read a book every week.
My father always thought that studying was more important than sport. I had to read a book every week. In order to go play with my friends at the weekend, I had to pass the oral exam my father had prepared for the book.
Her father has decided to move the family to Longueuil.
He didn’t want me to play hockey anymore but I was so insistent that we went to Longueuil for a year before moving to Ville d’Anjou. However, the racist remarks were still present.
what was your first job
When I was younger, before I worked at McDonald’s in Saint-Michel or at the supermarket in Ville d’Anjou, I would mow the lawn, shovel snow to clean the entrances to the garages and hand out leaflets on the doors when I was that was allowed to buy hockey equipment.
You emphasize to me that you experienced a violent youth.
When I was at home I feared my father, who ruled by using the belt, and outside the home the racial slurs continued. It was very difficult for an 11-year-old boy.
Sport has allowed you to maintain mental balance.
I channeled the racist comments that became my source of motivation to fulfill my dream of playing in the NHL for 13 years.
Norman Flynn believed in you.
Norman, the head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint-Jean Lynx, drafted me even though I was playing in the bantam category. He gave me my chance, which opened the door to a career in the NHL.
However, your father prevented you from playing your junior year.
In minor hockey I had to wear a full face shield, while in junior hockey it was a half face shield. It was out of the question for my father to sign the power of attorney that I could play under these conditions. Here I am back to mini AAA hockey.
Her teammate David-Alexandre Beauregard played an important role.
David-Alexandre and I are still friends. With the Montreal-Bourassa Midget AAA, he continually helped me develop my hockey skills. [Comme j’étais] paired with David-Alexandre and Sylvain Sénéchal in the same trio, their speed forced me to exceed my expectations.
How do you judge your father today?
He was very strict, but he always believed it would help us become better people. He was right.
You are the father of wonderful twins.
Milayna and Marcus live in Edmonton with their mother. They are wonderful kids that I see regularly in Edmonton. They spend a month in Quebec in the summer.