Labrie Proud to Sign NHL Contract
What makes sports so special, are the unexpected moments.
Just like Hubert Labrie signing an NHL contract.
But the rugged Belleville Senators defenceman did just that Monday, signing a two-way deal with Ottawa for the remainder of the 2019-20 season after what has so far been an outstanding season on the blue line.
"It means a lot to me," Labrie said. "It means they are confident in me on the ice and that they like me as a player and a person.
"I'm really proud of myself to sign a two-way deal with the Senators at 28."
It's Labrie's first NHL contract since his entry-level deal with Dallas in 2009. Since then, Labrie has amassed 452 career AHL games with Belleville, Texas, Springfield, San Antonio, Chicago, Hershey, Hartford and Syracuse. He won a Calder Cup in 2014 while with the Stars.
Labrie didn't sign with Belleville until July and when he signed, he had no guarantee of playing time. He has eight assists in 43 games this season.
"I didn't even know if I would be in the lineup every night and I worked hard every day and when you work hard every day you never know what can happen and now I've signed this deal so it means a lot to me."
The Victoriaville, QC., native has had a strong impact on a young Senators blue line, earning the admiration and respect amongst his peers. Sens head coach Troy Mann, who was instrumental in getting Labrie to sign in Belleville after coaching him for two years in Hershey, says the d-man has paid his dues.
"I do believe he's an underrated player at our level," Mann said. "I think his numbers speak for themselves. He's obviously not an offensive defenceman but he's great on the penalty kill, he's +22, a heart and soul guy and he's a leader. He's a D.J. Smith kind of player. I'm hoping he gets a couple of games for Ottawa down the stretch."
Labrie has yet to play a regular season NHL game. In fact, he only played his first NHL preseason game last September while in training camp with Ottawa.
The number of games Labrie plays for Ottawa down the stretch - the Sens have 20 games left - isn't a concern for him. But even he can't deny he'd love to play even just once.
"The start of the year I didn't expect that and it's really fun to sign that contract at this point of the year and maybe play one game in Ottawa."
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