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Sports News

Ex-NHL player who had COVID-19: Season shouldn't resume

Former NHL player Georges Laraque, who has recovered from COVID-19, doesn’t want to see the season resume amid the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Former NHL Player Georges Laraque speaks during a news conference in Port-au-Prince July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Swoan Parker

“To be asking guys to be tested and be quarantined for two to three months away from the family during this crisis is unfair and inhuman,” Laraque told Canada’s TSN. “Am I going to be forced to be away from my family and be scared of what’s going to happen when I’m not there? And what if something happens when I’m playing and my wife gets sick and I want to go back home?”

He added, “There are so many problems to consider for next year that to try to salvage this season makes to me absolute (sic) no sense, and there are many current players who have talked about it and have said publicly the same thing.”

Laraque said of the NHL’s motivation, “The only reason why they try to save the season, we all know, is because of the TV revenue they are trying to save. ...

“The players already know that, even if they finish the season, it’s not going to be a true Stanley Cup because of the conditions that they are going to be put under to do this. It’s not going to be like winning the hardest trophy in professional sports.

“And on top of that, to be playing with no fans (in the stands) ... it’s going to be like playing hockey in a training camp.”

Laraque, who also has asthma, said he nearly was placed on a ventilator on his first in the hospital but was grateful that he didn’t need one. Laraque believes he contracted the illness based on volunteer work he did getting groceries for senior citizens.

He said his attitude before getting COVID-19 was, “I’m eternal. I’m never going to die. I don’t think about that. I always think positive, always smile, things are good. I have some many more things to accomplish. Many more marathons to run, many more lives to touch, many more charities to help out, so this is the last thing on my mind. I haven’t even done a will.”

Laraque, a 43-year-old Montreal native, played for the Edmonton Oilers (1997-98 to 2005-06), the Phoenix Coyotes (2006-07), the Pittsburgh Penguins (2006-07 to 2007-08) and the Montreal Canadiens (2008-09 to 2009-10). In 490 career games, the right winger registered 43 goals, 68 assists and 826 penalty minutes.

--Field Level Media

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