The Avs "A" Captain - Ian Laperriere
(from the Colorado Hockey Insider)
By Jim Gromer
Colorado Hockey Insider
March 2008 - Only one man has the coveted "C" on his Avalanche jersey. That distinction belongs to the great Joe Sakic, who has been with the team since it moved to Colorado in 1995. He has two Stanley Cups with the Avs and is widely considered to be one of the greatest gentlemen to ever play the game.
Two men get the privilege of wearing the "A" as alternate captains for the team. With such guys as Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth in the locker room, you may wonder who has secured that honor. Those letters, not surprisingly, belong to Ian Laperriere and Andrew Brunette.
"Lappy", as his teammates call him, was promoted to alternate captain when Steve Konowalchuk went out with an injury in 2005. It was his first year with the Colorado Avalanche, but he made quite an impact on the ice and in the locker room from day one.
He could have been chosen to lead because he continually sacrificed his body, logging a league-leading 92 blocked shots among all NHL forwards.
Then again he could have captured the "A" with his fists as he compiled 116 penalty minutes and 12 fighting majors. He led the team in PIM's last year too with 133.
You wouldn't know it from talking to him though... except for that trademark nose. For whatever the reason, he has quickly become a team as well as fan favorite.
Laperriere doesn't just log penalty minutes, he delivers some haymakers and wins his fair share of fights too.
"Sometimes people think that I really enjoy that, but it's just something I've got to do," Lappy admits. "I don't have one fight in my mind that I can say, 'I really liked that one'.
"I fight differently than any other guys. I'm more a technical fighter than a heavyweight fighter. I don't have the size to fight like a heavyweight, that's why I fight a little bit smarter."
Enforcers around the league all seem to agree about one misguided NHL rule.
"I think the instigator rule should be banned. You've got those guys who take liberty to be dirty players, because they know they can't be accountable for their actions. They know guys won't jump them or won't fight them if they give some cheap shots out there. Hopefully, they will get rid of that one but other than that, rule-wise, everything is fine."
In the first year of his promising young career, rookie T.J. Hensick chose Laperriere as the player who had taught him the most.
"Just the way he handles himself on and off the ice," Hensick said. "I've learned a lot from him each day. It's just good to have him around me."
Like many successful players, it all started with his supportive (Canadian) parents.
"My dad was a big..." Laperriere started. "Well, I should say my mom and dad. They love hockey, they love sports and they pushed me toward hockey. I'm from Montreal where hockey is the No. 1 sport and my parents were a big influence on my career for sure."
"I had a bunch of great coaches you know," he added. "The one that sticks out in my mind is Jean Hamel who played in the NHL for 14 years. He was my junior coach and he helped me a lot to be a better player."
Lappy has two young boys who have already started to follow in dad's footsteps.
"They are not on a team right now, but they are both skating and they are having fun out there.
"But they will be in sports for sure. Even if it's not hockey. They are doing karate too and playing soccer. They'll play sports. It doesn't matter if it's hockey or not, as long as they are having fun and learning that team experience, which I enjoy every day of my life."
Part of that team experience includes some off-the-ice antics.
"We go on the road quite a bit and we stay in hotel rooms. One day they brought a vending machine and put it in front of a hotel room door and knocked on the door. When the guy opened the door, there was a big Pepsi sign right there. You know, it was a clean joke. I really enjoyed that one."
You may be surprised to hear that Laperriere has actually acted in an independent film released in 2005. He played former Canadiens' great "Boom Boom" Geoffrion in the movie "Maurice Richard".
"It was a great experience. I mean people here don't really know who Maurice Richard is but back home he's a big icon, especially growing up in Montreal."
"It was a great honor to be part of the movie. But if you watch, make sure you don't blink because you'll miss me."
He's not exactly ready to hang up the skates to switch careers though.
"No, I'm not one of those (who) after I'm done playing hockey, I'll be an actor. If it comes again, a role like that to be on the ice I'll welcome that, but to say I'll move to Hollywood and be an actor, I'm not planning on that. It's not my thing at all."
Obviously, Lappy isn't your average hockey player.
"I don't drink beer. People are like 'What!?!' I may be the only hockey player who doesn't drink beer, but I like wine. I'm still cool though. I don't like beer but I'm still cool."
Ian Laperriere is a real leader in more way than one way and he truly understands what is most important in life.
"You know, I always thought that I'm lucky in life. I've got a great family, great kids, a great wife, and I've got the best job in the world. I'm in a position where I can give back to the community."
You know if you talk to my teammates, most of them... all of them, all of the NHL players, any hockey players with the time that we have gives back to the community. I think we are in that position where we can and most of us are doing it."
Thanks for everything "A" Captain!
Here is a quick look at his personal life.
Pets: Three dogs: Calamine, Charlotte and Clementine. Two Weimaraners and one chocolate lab.
Favorite restaurant: "I like Fleming's Steak House. I like their food. I'm big on dessert. They've got that Godiva Cake. Just ordered that - it's good stuff."
Favorite music: "A little bit of everything. I'm a huge fan of U2 since I was 10 years old and that's my favorite band. I like the Killers right now; my wife and I really enjoy it. We try to go to a couple concerts when we can. Coldplay, I like all kinds of music."
Favorite video game: "Yeah, believe it or not I'm a 34-year-old baby who likes to play video games once in a while. Not lately, but I used to play a little bit more video game hockey."
Favorite recreational activity: "I don't know. I just want to spend time with my kids, you know. We're on the road so much... and my kids grow up so fast. They are three and five right now and when I get the chance to spend time with them, I try to spend as much time as I can."