Journeyman netminder Jason LaBarbera — who appeared in nearly 200 career games with the Coyotes, Kings, Rangers, Ducks, Oilers and Canucks — has hung up his skates in favor of a new position:
On Tuesday, the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen announced that LaBarbera was coming aboard as the club’s new goalie coach. The decision comes after the 36-year-old spent all of last season with Philly’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.
“I am really excited about this opportunity and moving onto the next chapter of my life,” LaBarbera said in a release. “I’m also looking forward to the challenges of coaching and being able to pass along some of my experiences to the guys on the team.”
More, from the AHL:
[LaBarbera] he left his mark on the American Hockey League, honored with the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as Top Goaltender and named an AHL First Team All-Star in both 2004 and 2007.
During the 2003-04 season, as a member of the Hartford Wolf Pack, he also took home the Les Cunningham Award given to the AHL MVP after setting the league record for most shutouts in a single season with 13. It’s a record that still stands to this day.
As that excerpt suggests, LaBarbera’s best years came in the minors, though that’s not to say he was without NHL success.
He enjoyed some banner campaigns as the Coyotes’ backup — first to Ilya Bryzgalov, then to Mike Smith — and once started 42 games in a single season (for the Kings back in ’07-08).
LaBarbera’s last NHL action came in ’14-15, when he appeared in a handful of games for Anaheim.