Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Olivier Labelle. Consistent with team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. Labelle is the first player announced as signed by the Royals to an ECHL contract for the 2016-17 season.
Labelle (6’0/199) (30), who will be entering his eleventh pro season, played last year with Dragons de Rouen in France where he registered twenty-five points (11g-14a) in twenty-six regular season games in the Ligue Magnus. Rouen, who claimed both the Continental Cup and the French League Cup tournaments during the 2015-16 season, also went on to win the French playoff championship. During the run to winning it all, Labelle, racked up eleven points (6g-5a) and twenty-four penalty minutes in fifteen playoff games.
This year, Labelle is set to become only the second player in team history to play in five separate seasons with the Royals, joining current Head Coach Larry Courville, who played in parts of five seasons for Reading from 2001 – 08. Labelle last played in Reading during the 2014-15 season, during which he led the team with a personal career best 71 points (30g-41a) in 72 games, which placed him tied for eleventh in the ECHL regular season scoring race. Labelle, who became only the tenth player in team history to play all seventy-two regular season games that year, also led the Royals in power play goals (8), shots on goal (196) and penalty minutes (92), while playing to a plus-16 (+16). He finished the year by registering three assists in the seven playoff games played by the team in the 2015 East Division Semi-Finals against the South Carolina Stingrays.
Labelle, who is one of only five players in the fifteen year history of the Royals to score thirty or more goals in a single season, is the all-time leading goal scorer in team history having scored 101 career goals in 228 total games with Reading. His 201 points (101g-100a) with the Royals places him third all-time on the team’s scoring list behind only Ryan Cruthers (86g-187a=273pts in 278 games) and Yannick Tifu (84g-138a=222pts in 245 games). Labelle, who is the only player in team history to be selected as the team’s Offensive Player of the Year and Scrapper of the Year—twice each, is also the team’s all-time career leader in power play goals with 38 (38g-17a=55 pp pts) and game winning goals with eighteen. Labelle, who has registered sixteen fighting majors in his time with the Royals, is second all-time in team history with respect to penalty minutes accrued, racking up 503 penalty minutes in his time with Reading, which is second only to Malcolm MacMillan with 539 PIMs.
Labelle has been to the post-season four times with the Royals, recording twenty-seven points (14g-13a) in thirty-five career post-season games (fifth most) with the team. Labelle’s fourteen playoff goals—eleven of which came in the Royals’ sixteen game run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010—places him tied (with Cruthers) for second most all time behind only Tifu (16). His twenty-seven playoff points are third most behind Cruthers (39) and Tifu (36). Labelle has recorded the second most post-season shots on goal, firing 101 shots in his thirty-five post-season contests with Reading.
Labelle, who has scored over twenty goals in five of his six seasons in the ECHL (and all four of his seasons with Reading), has racked up 284 total points (143g-141a) and 800 penalty minutes in 336 regular season games in the league. He has also played 126 games with four different teams in the AHL, registering thirty-nine points (15g-24a) and 253 penalty minutes. He also played three full seasons of Elite European pro hockey in Austria and France (34g-42a=76pts, 198 pims in 108 games). Through ten seasons of pro, Labelle has played 570 career pro regular season games and has scored 192 goals and assisted on 207 others (399 points) and has amassed 1251 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, Labelle played 273 regular season games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he was a member of back-to-back championship teams with the Hull (and later Gatineau) Olympiques in 2003 and 2004. Labelle finished out his QMJHL career in 2005-06 with Acadie-Bathurst Titan where he exploded for 100 points (50g-50a) and 185 penalty minutes in sixty-seven regular season games.
Season Tickets for the 2016-17 Reading Royals ECHL season are currently available. Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.