Laperriere retires after two seasons off the ice

Posted: June 14, 2012

Ian Laperriere waited until after the Stanley Cup Finals ended, with the Los Angeles Kings on top, to announce something that was two years in the making.

Laperriere, 38, officially announced his retirement from hockey Tuesday. He spent the last two seasons of his contract working with the Flyers' prospects in a coaching role after being sidelined with postconcussion syndrome.

Laperriere spent only one season in a Flyers uniform, but will go down as one of the most beloved players in franchise history for his sacrifice, dedication, and passion.

"I'm just glad I had a chance to wear the orange and black," Laperriere said in a conference call with reporters. "It was my shortest time here compared to the other teams I played for, but that's probably one of my biggest regrets: not having a chance to play longer than that in this great organization."

On April 22, 2010, Laperriere blocked a Paul Martin slapshot with his face in the waning minutes of a Game 5, series-clinching victory over the New Jersey Devils. Laperriere was not wearing any facial protection, and the shot struck just above his eye, temporarily knocking out vision in that eye.

A subsequent MRI exam revealed bleeding on the brain and a severe concussion. Laperriere required about 70 stitches to close the wound. Amazingly, he returned to the ice a month later to help the Flyers close out his hometown Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals.

He played in all six games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. It was his only trip to the Finals. He spent more than eight years with Los Angeles and watching the Kings raise the Cup on Monday night, Laperriere was filled with bittersweet emotions.

"It's not jealousy, it's more like you wish it was you," Laperriere said. "Every year, it's like that. I'm happy for the Kings, actually. I've never won it, and it's not something that just because it was the Kings, it's every year - the year before when Boston won, it I felt the same way, and Chicago it was way worse because I was on the other end of it. It's not jealousy, it's more like you wish it was you."

In all, Laperriere played 1,083 regular-season games and 67 playoff games. He racked up 1,956 penalty minutes, 196 career fights, 121 goals, and 215 assists for 336 points, playing a style that few players could make a lengthy career of.

One of the best penalty killers ever to don a Flyers uniform, Laperriere also fought a career-high 25 times as a Flyer in 2009-10. He won the 2011 Masterton Trophy for "dedication and perseverance to the game" without ever actually playing a game that season, for his constant positive attitude and willingness to support teammates.

Laperriere said he was still not "100 percent" healthy, but feels "pretty good."

"I'm lucky, because I played close to 1,100 games, and I was hoping as a little boy to play one," Laperriere said. "I surpassed that and played a lot longer than I ever expected. The way I played the game was fighting and being physical, and I was looking around and it's tough to find guys that play my way that played that long. I feel very fortunate and very proud of what I did."

Laperriere's contract officially expires July 1. The good news is that he is not going anywhere. He has settled down and built a house in Haddonfield, where he wants to watch his boys, Tristan and Zach, grow up. He's expected to continue to work with the Flyers' young players in a development role, and he'd like to pursue coaching.


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @DNFlyers. Read his blog, "Frequent Flyers," at www.philly.com/frequentflyers

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