'I was pretty emotional': Former NHLer Georges Laraque gifted 10 jerseys
EDMONTON -- A long-time friend of Georges Laraque gave him coveted memorabilia from his NHL career, a gift the former Oiler describes as "priceless."
Michael Schayer, was running a Twitter contest when a follower sent him a direct message saying he knew someone who had been collecting Laraque’s worn jerseys.
Schayer said he would buy the jerseys from the collector, no questions asked, “I made a deal with the guy and jumped at the opportunity.”
“It’s almost like a secret society to get a hold of these things,” he explained to CTV News Edmonton.
Once Schayer received the 10 wrapped jerseys, he held onto them until he could surprise Laraque with the gift.
“I was pretty emotional,” Laraque said. “When you play with a jersey, it’s the property of the NHL.”
“They end up in all different places,” Schayer added. “It’s just one of those things if you find them, it’s like a hidden holy grail.”
“I’ve seen him almost jump through the boards when he’s scored a goal. I’ve seen him just after the birth of his kid. I know he’s a pretty emotional guy,” Schayer said. “He couldn’t believe that I was even able to do it, never mind the fact that I did it.”
Schayer expressed his gratitude for Laraque, saying he felt lucky to be able to do something like this for his friend of more than 20 years.
“He’s done so many things for so many people including my family,” he said. “It’s a small thank you for what he’s done for Edmontonians and people in Canada in general.“
Laraque reminisced about his time in the NHL and the sentimental value behind each jersey.
“Every jersey I can look up, especially the rip… I could remember why the rip, what happened, what battle it was.”
“Some of the jerseys, I know if it’s during playoffs,” he added. "I know what game it was, and I know if it was a home game or an away game. It’s just awesome to remember all those special moments.”
Laraque said he plans to display some of the jerseys in his home as well as in the garage and at his sport card store in Montreal. But what’s most important he says, is his plan to share his legacy with his family.
“I will never ever sell them,” he said. “I’m going to give them to my son and he can do whatever he wants with them. Hopefully he’ll just pass it along to the family along the way.”
“Having a game-worn jersey that you actually wore when you played is priceless.”