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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Stars prospect Hubert Labrie a battler

By Mark Stepneski

Dallas Stars defense prospect Hubert Labrie will get a shot to turn pro and play for the Texas Stars this coming season. And you can bet he’ll battle hard for the spot.

Labrie, whom the Stars signed as a free agent in 2009, is a competitor. It was on display at the team’s recent development camp in McKinney, where he went toe-to-toe in some great puck battles with fellow prospect Jamie Oleksiak, who had eight inches and about 50 pounds on him.

It was on display this past season, where Labrie, the captain of the Gatineau Olympiques, missed almost the entire season due to knee surgery, returned for the final nine games and then helped lead his team to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series while playing through more injuries.

“I blocked a shot in the first game of the playoffs, so I played with a hand injury during the playoffs,” Labrie said. “That’s part of the game. That’s hockey.”

The hand was broken. He played through rib and hip injuries too. He didn’t miss a playoff game and finished with 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) and a league-high plus-17 rating in 24 games.

“He missed almost the entire season, but [our scouts] say he played lights out in the playoffs,”
said Les Jackson, Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development.

The knock on Labrie has always been his size. He’s listed at 5-11, 190 pounds. But throughout his junior career he’s always gotten the job done as an excellent defensive defenseman who usually goes up against the opponent’s top players. He’s an excellent one-on-one defender, he hits and he is highly competitive.

Ask him about his style of play and he’s pretty matter of fact.

“In one word? A warrior,” he said.

And his role model is a guy Dallas Stars fans know well.

“Stephane Robidas is a good example for me,” Labrie said. “I play the same style of hockey game. He’s a good image.”

Labrie will get a shot to earn a spot with the Texas Stars next season, although he is still eligible to play one more year of junior hockey.

“We’ll give him an opportunity,” said Jackson. “If he looks like he is ready to play in Austin for sure we’ll keep him there. “

Labrie will get a chance to make an impression when he plays for the Stars at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan and then it is on to training camp in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

“I have to work hard during the summer,” Labrie said. “I have to be ready for the next camp in September and we’ll see what happens.”