The Syracuse Crunch announced today the signing of forward Pierre-Cedric (P.C., “Nacho”) Labrie to a two-year AHL contract. Labrie previously played two seasons for the Syracuse Crunch posting 25 goals and 28 assists for 53 points over 77 games. Labrie has spent a total of four seasons in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization from 2011-12 to 2013-14, spending two seasons each with the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch. In addition, Labrie has appeared in 46 NHL games in his career with two goals and five points, all for the Tampa Bay Lightning over three seasons from 2011-12 to 2013-14.
Labrie was never drafted out of the QMJHL and is now a 35 year old minor league veteran. He made his professional debut in 2007-08 for the Manitoba Moose after earning an entry level contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Upon the expiration of his ELC, he signed an AHL contract with the Norfolk Admirals for the 2010-11 season. He played well enough to earn a two-year, two-way contract from the Lightning and then another one-year contract before moving on to the Chicago Blackhawks and their AHL team.
The previous two seasons, Labrie took a trip to Europe and played in the German DEL for Eisbaren Berlin. This season, he’s been playing for the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL on a Professional Try-Out and has recorded two goals and eight points in 21 games. With Hartford not signing him to an AHL contract, the Crunch were able to lure him away with the two-year contract that will have him in Syracuse for the rest of this season and next adding to the veteran depth of the team.
The return of Nacho Labrie is sure to be a fun and welcome one for fans of the Syracuse Crunch. He is one of those players that while never a high skill, big offensive performer in the AHL or NHL, was one that was popular in Syracuse. He is a bottom six, grinder type forward that played a very tough and physical game. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates. He has posted over 100 penalty minutes in seven of his previous 12 AHL seasons. His “Nacho” nickname was given to him by Ryan Malone after Labrie made his debut in 2011-12 with the Lightning and was inspired by the Jack Black film, Nacho Libre.
Labrie is now 35 years old, and I think is a little less likely to be dropping the gloves as often as he has in the past. He has 650 career AHL games under his belt with 91 goals and 206 points. Labrie is another veteran to bring into the room for the Crunch that can serve as a locker room leader. He brings a Championship pedigree having won the Calder Cup in 2012 with Norfolk and winning the DEL last season with Eisbaren Berlin. In 2018-19, he also served as a Player-Assistant Coach for the Wichita Thunder in the ECHL.
You might have also heard of his father-in-law before. Some guy named Patrick Roy. No big deal. Definitely not one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game.
The Crunch aren’t without their leaders in the locker room, with Gabriel Dumont, Daniel Walcott, Charles Hudon, and Andrej Sustr providing veteran voices to the younger prospects and professionals on the team. It’s also yet another example this season of Julien BriseBois and Stacy Roest reaching out to players that previously played with the organization to make a return, including Jason Garrison who was recently signed to a Professional Try-Out. Labrie just adds another guy that can speak from experience and help to lead the Crunch.