April 14, 2016

Claude Larose

Claude Larose is the perfect example of why all aspiring hockey players should play the right way and try their best on every shift and in every game.

Larose grew up in the 1950s in tiny Hearst, Ontario, a tiny isolated railway town Ontario's far north. Larose dreamed of playing in the National Hockey League, but Hearst, some 900 plus kilometers north of Toronto, was about as far as way from the NHL as Timbuktu.

One night a Montreal Canadiens scout just happened to be pulling through on his way to scout a different prospect in Fort William, Ontario. Forced to overnight in Hearst, a local invited him down to the rink, raving about a local kid named Claude Larose. The scout was impressed with what he saw, and soon thereafter Claude Larose became property of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs arranged for Larose to leave Hearst and play junior hockey in Peterborough and Ottawa from 1959 through 1963. And after half a season apprenticing in the minor leagues, he became a full time member of the Montreal Canadiens in 1964.

Larose was a spirited right winger who played primarily a defensive role on the team's checking line. He did reach the 20 goal mark five times in his 15 year NHL career. He totalled 226 goals, 257 assists and 483 points in 943 career games.

Larose played two extended stints with the Canadiens, winning five Stanley Cups. He also played notably well in Minnesota and St. Louis.

Hockey was all Larose knew, and he absolutely loved it. So it comes as no surprise that he stayed employed in the game after leaving the ice. He spent many years either scouting or coaching at various levels for NHL teams.

He also taught his son Guy about the game of hockey. Guy Larose would also make it to the NHL.

Later in life Larose moved to Florida but continued to scout for the Carolina Hurricanes. But he always made a point to watch almost every Montreal Canadiens game on television that he could.

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