Laperriere was not an offensive genius, in fact, in his best offensive season with the Kings he produced just 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) in 62 regular-season games. So, in case you were wondering why he was honored in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday as a Kings "legend", here is some help. The video below sums up the type of leader and hockey player that Ian Laperriere embodied.
The man played with heart and intensity, and brought energy and toughness to the rink each and every day. He served as an alternate captain during his time in Los Angeles, leading his teammates by example on the ice, and with a positive attitude off of it.
He was a true soldier on the frozen surface, and never backed away from defending a teammate. To put things into perspective, Laperriere racked up 81 more fighting majors than goals scored by the time his 15-year career was over (202 career fighting majors, 121 career goals).
During his final NHL season in 2009-10, Laperriere was hit in the face with a puck while throwing his body in front of a slap shot in an effort to block the attempt from getting to the net. He was obviously successful in blocking the shot, but as a result of sacrificing his body for the team, Laperriere lost seven teeth and received 70 stitches in the locker room. The best part though? He returned to play in the third period.
Later that season, he was struck in the face again during a first-round playoff game. Again, Laperriere stuck his body in front of a slap shot in an attempt to block the puck from getting through to the net. He suffered a concussion and a fractured orbital bone from the incident, but returned to play just over a month later when his team at the time, the Philadelphia Flyers, had reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
Those games would be his last, and although he tried training for a return to the ice, he was never able to shake the concussion-like symptoms following the 2010 postseason. Laperriere officially retired in 2012 at the age of 38.
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