Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NHLPA-Hockey helps raise more than $1-million for Haiti


The smiles have gotten to big Georges Laraque – not the destruction, the homelessness or the rampant poverty. That he expected.

What the former National Hockey League player didn’t count on during his visit to earthquake-ravaged Haiti were people smiling as if they hadn’t a care in the world.

“Everywhere I go, they’re happy and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t be sad,’” Laraque said Wednesday after touring the working remnants of Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince. “I just try to make them laugh – and you should see them. I talk to them in French. They speak French and Creole and say I have a terrible accent. Its so slang, so bad. I say, ‘I’m from Canada’ and they laugh some more.”

Laraque, whose parents were born in Haiti, and Nashville Predators’ defenceman Dan Hamhuis arrived in Haiti earlier this week as part of Hockey for Haiti’s relief efforts. The two athletes took part in a news conference that announced the NHL Players’ Association and World Vision Canada had raised more than $1-million to help rebuild the Grace.

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