Sharks’ prospect Gannon Laroque leads by example on Royals’ blueline

WatchGannon Laroque is among the Royals' top point producers and is placed in all situations, averaging more than 29-minutes of ice time in December.

Heading into his second full Western Hockey League season in Victoria, Defenceman Gannon Laroque took aim at one area of his game.

“Just trying to work on my offensive game was kind of the goals of the off-season,” said Laroque.

“And obviously, I’m trying, it looks like it’s paying off so far, but I just got to keep pushing every day.”

After seven points in the B.C. bubble last Spring, Laroque is nearly a point-per-game player this season with four goals and 29 points in 31 games.

Laroque is among the Royals’ top point producers and is placed in all situations, averaging more than 29-minutes of ice time in December.

“He is trustworthy. He makes high percentage plays, good decisions, it’s all about winning for him too,” said Royals Head Coach and General Manager Dan Price.

“It’s just the way he manages his ice and his recovery and his body. You know when he comes back to the bench after a shift, it’s like a couple of quick breaths, and he’s ready to go again.”

“Yeah, it’s good. You know I’m playing in some tough situations and it’s really good for me I think, you know it really helps me going up to the next levels,” added Laroque.

The 18-year-old from Edmonton took a step towards the NHL last June, being drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round.

And after being around NHL’ers, he gained valuable lessons on becoming a pro.

“It’s definitely helped a lot, yeah, just seeing the guys in the gym, whether it’s working out or recovery before and after the skate, I’ve really taken pride in my recovery and stuff like that,” Laroque said of his first pro camp.

“Just taking things from guys from Brent Burns when I was in San Jose.”

“He’s there everyday at 7:30 eating breakfast, Gannon is, so is Burns,” Price said, of a story Laroque passed along to other Royals’ players earlier this season.

“He’s there early, hours early, ahead of everyone, to fuel up, begin his preparation, his rehab, all the things that nobody sees, that make him a world-class player. So Gannon really absorbed those types of lessons.”

And Laroque has anchored a defence that has improved during the season, along with a team chasing a playoff spot.

“You know I think it’s just some building blocks. You know we learned from the games that were, you know, at the start of the season, obviously, we had some injuries and stuff like that, but yeah, it helps us out, and you know, we’re confident in our abilities and continue to build on what we’ve been doing over the last few games.”

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Andy NealAndy Neal

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