by Lisa Brown on 10/02/12 at 11:30 PM ET
Georges Laraque has always been known as a talker. Even while playing for the Edmonton Oilers, Laraque was all over the Edmonton radio waves, and not just in sports interviews. No, Laraque was often featured on the various popular music stations sharing his opinions on a variety of topics. That was a trend that continued as Laraque ventured into veganism and helping those affected by natural disaster in Haiti.
Now, Laraque has a new topic and a new title; Executive Director of the CHLPA. As the director, Laraque has been speaking for the CHLPA and what they are looking to acheive including this interview given with Jason Gregor of the Team 1260:
Those players have a right to an education. They want to create a union to make sure that this (education) will be a main focus. We are talking about 1300 kids in which about 98% of them won’t play in the NHL; I think it’s reasonable for them to at least fight for their education.
Just for an example to throw, look for the Quebec Major League website they talk about how the 18 teams in the Quebec League have spent $400,000 (on education) which is less than the $25,000/team. If you look in the Western League all of the numbers are shown there, the Western Hockey League has spent over $600,000 between 22 teams which is less than $30,000/team.
In the Quebec League there are over 45 million tickets sold and in the Western League there are over 50 million tickets sold. Then if you look at the stick budget, which is more than $50,000/yr how does that make sense? We spend more money on sticks than education.
Gregor is right to point out at the end of the lengthy interview that an agreement between the CHL and the NCAA will be extremely difficult. If it ever could be accomplished that might make a significant difference in the a number of lives, and to the league in general.
Currently, a player is eligible for scholarship money for one school calendar year after their last year of WHL eligibility. So if a player is 20 at the end of the 2012-13 season they will not have to make their decision about school until September 2014. Still, for a player hoping to make the NHL, they may take the ECHL route and then look to school as a plan B at the age of 22 or 23. Once it gets to that point, the player will need to put themseleves through school with whatever money they were able to put aside, or take the route that most of us do; student loans.
I'm currently chasing after the story from the WHL concerning scholarships and education, it will be interesting to see what they have to say.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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