Ian Laperriere's hockey career is over. The Philadelphia Flyers forward has retired from the game, and he spoke with the local media on a conference call today about his career and his future in both the organization and the sport.
He knew this was coming for two years, and we all know that the salary cap is basically what kept him from making this official for all this time. But these two seasons have allowed him to settle into a different type of hockey life, and he's been able to reflect on his playing career with pride.
"At the end of the day I'm lucky because I played close to 1100 games and I was hoping as a little boy to play one game," Lappy said. "I surpassed that and I 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 who played that long.
"It's a matter of when you're going to get a career-ending injury -- it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. I feel very fortunate and very proud of what I did."
So what's up for Laperriere now that he's officially out of the game? It's not as though the Flyers are paying him anymore, so will he be sticking around Philadelphia?
"For now that's what I'm doing, working with the young guys," Laperriere said. "I want to get closer to the game. Coaching would be a route I wouldn't mind exploring. Right now what I'm doing is I try to be around as many young prospects as I can just to show them what it takes off the ice. On the ice they all have talent, but it takes a lot more than that to play at the next level and stay at the next level.
"It's one thing I tell them every day when I see them and we talk about that. It's a goal to make the NHL, but it's a bigger challenge to stay in for 16, 15, 10 years. That's what I do now, I try to just pass on my experience that I gained over the years."
Laperriere will be sticking around for the time being, and perhaps he does get that start in coaching here in Philadelphia. The Phantoms need a new head coach, after all ... /baseless speculation. In all seriousness, we've always seen Lappy as one of those guys who'd be a Flyer for life regardless of the short time he spent in the uniform during his career, and it's apparent that the feeling is mutual.
"It was my shortest time here compared to the other teams I played for," Lappy said, "but that's probably one of my regrets, not having a chance to play longer than that in this great organization. I'm just glad I had a chance to wear the orange and black.
"It's something I would have missed, just to play for a team that cares so much about their fans and cares so much about their players. I'm not saying that everywhere else I played they didn't care about their players, but nothing compared to what the Flyers are."