Even after 300 NHL games and a Stanley Cup, playing hockey still hasn’t lost its luster for Chad LaRose.
The thrill he discovered when he first slipped on a pair of ice skates as a 2-year-old still lives on today for the Fraser, Mich., native.
“My middle brother was in hockey and my dad sort of put me on the ice when he was 5,” LaRose recalled. “I think [it was] just to keep me wrapped up for a bit.”
As the years passed, LaRose branched out athletically, but hockey remained his passion.
“I played baseball growing up but I had to quit to play full-time hockey,” LaRose said.
His passion eventually paid off when he joined the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, where he scored 40 goals over the course of a season and a half. In the middle of the 2000-01 season, he left South Dakota to move closer to home to join the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Chad LaRose | #59
In 2002 LaRose was chosen to represent Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic, where he scored 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in seven games. It was a thrill that still resonates with the 27-year-old.
“It gives me tingles, putting on the jersey to be honest with you,” said LaRose, who went on to play for the U.S. at the 2007 IIHF World Championship. “Putting on the USA jersey is a very, very big honor and I get very excited, very tingly before games knowing that I’m playing for my country.”
After tallying two goals and two assists in the tournament, LaRose returned to Plymouth for his third and final season where he made Whalers history with 61 goals, a mark that still stands today.
Thanks to that career season, LaRose landed on the NHL radar and by August he signed a free-agent contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Two and a half seasons with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL (now the Lowell Devils) eventually paid off when LaRose made his NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 6, 2005.
For LaRose, it was the season that dreams came true. One month into his NHL career he faced his childhood hero, Steve Yzerman, on the ice.
“I actually pulled up one time racing for the puck, and I let him get it,” LaRose said. “He was always a class act and an awesome hockey player, and he seemed to bring it every night. … I think that’s good to look up to.”
The cherry on the top of the season was the Hurricanes’ playoff run, which ended in a Stanley Cup Championship victory.
“I took [the trophy] down to the city hall and let all the kids touch it and take a picture with it,” LaRose said of his day with the Cup.
“And I took it to my church and I had a family party and basically blew it out with my friends.”
Now in his fifth season with the ’Canes, LaRose has yet to see another Stanley Cup Championship or a 50-point season, but that doesn’t bother him one bit.
“My coaches instilled in me that it’s not always about getting points or anything,” he said. “It’s a team game and everyone has their role.”
Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Stevenson High School junior Brad Levinson scored a natural hat trick during the second period of the Patriots’ Nov. 18 game against Barrington High School.
What’s amazing about that performance was that he did it in 28 seconds, just seven seconds shy of the NHL record set by Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1952.
Levinson’s goals, which are part of his eight of the season, allowed the Patriots to tie the game against
Barrington for a 4-4 final.