A junior and minor league scoring sensation, Gord Labossiere arrived in Los Angeles with some high expectations. after all, the expansion Kings drafted him with their first pick in the NHL expansion draft.
But Labossiere was unable take advantage of his big chance. He was unable to establish himself as a scorer in the NHL
"I found it impossible to play hockey in California," he tried explaining. "The weather is so mild you feel like you're at training camp all the time. You never get the idea it's the hockey season."
Labossiere joined the Minnesota North Stars in 1971, and initially had a strong showing, notching a hat trick in one of his first games. Maybe the harsh Minnesota winters were responsible for his awakening.
Labossiere's exit from Los Angeles was one of the most interesting trades in National Hockey League history. He and Ray Fortin were traded to Montreal in exchange for star center Ralph Backstrom. The Habs immediately flipped Labossiere to Minnesota for Rey Comeau.
Essentially, the Canadiens gave Los Angeles Backstrom for nothing. But the Canadiens general manager, Sam Pollock, had great interest in helping LA finish the season strongly. The Kings and Oakland Seals were cellar dwellers that season, with both teams in a turtle derby for last place. Montreal had already acquired Oakland's first round draft choice, meaning if the Seals finished last, the Habs would get the first overall pick. So they purposefully strengthened the Kings in order to ensure Montreal would get the top pick. Backstrom scored 27 points in 33 games and finished ahead of the Seals. Montreal would draft a future superstar we are sure you have heard of - Guy Lafleur.
In 1972 Labossiere left the NHL and joined the upstart rival league, the World Hockey Association, for four seasons in Houston. He started out spectacularly with 36 goals and 96 points in year one, but settled into a 20 goal, 55 point man. Houston won back-to-back Avco Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.