Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Olivier Labelle. Consistent with team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.
The Royals now have fifteen players under contract for the 2014-15 season. In addition to Labelle, the others are: forwards Brandon Blandina, Kyle Bodie, Ryan Cruthers, Brock Higgs, Adam Hughesman, David Marshall, Domenic Monardo, Cam Reid, Kevin Walrod and Sean Wiles and defensemen Dan Ford, Jordan Heywood, Mike Marcou and Bryant Molle.
Video of Head Coach Larry Courville’s comments on the agreement reached with Labelle can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP-K4GRGuoA.
Labelle (6’0/199) (29), who hails from Saint-Eustache, Quebec, played the last two seasons in Austria with the Graz 99ers of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. Last year, he recorded seventeen points (5g-12a) and sixty-four penalty minutes in forty games. The year before, 2012-13, Labelle tied for second on the 99ers in goals scored with eighteen (18g-16a=34pts, 98 pims) in forty-two games in his first season of elite European pro.
Prior to going to Europe, Labelle, who will be entering his ninth season of pro, played six seasons in North America, three of which were with the Royals (2009-12). In his most recent season in Reading, 2011-12, Labelle led the team with twenty-seven goals in sixty-three games and was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. His offensive numbers that season included a team leading thirteen power play goals, which was tied for the ECHL league lead. He also led the Royals with five game winners and 172 shots on goal. That season, Labelle, who has been twice named Reading’s ‘Scrapper of the Year’ (2009-10 and 2010-11) also racked up a team leading 144 penalty minutes, which included six fighting majors.
In his three seasons with the Royals, Labelle has compiled a total of 130 points (71g-59a) and 411 penalty minutes in 156 regular season games with the team. His seventy-one regular season goals is tied for the all-time career lead (with Ryan Cruthers) for the Royals. His 130 points places him tied (with Andrew Sarauer) for fifth in the all-time career scoring lead. His career total 156 games with the team places him sixth in team history in that category. He is the all-time team career leader with thirty power play goals and fourteen career game winners. Labelle, who twice led the team in penalty minutes (2009-10 and 2011-12), is currently tied for third in career penalty minutes (411), which includes sixteen career fighting majors as a Royal—tied (with James Heibert) for fifth most in team history.
Labelle, who is the only Royal in team history to record a playoff hattrick (04/30/10 @ Cincinnati), has been to the post-season three times with the Royals, recording twenty-four points (14g-10a) in twenty-eight career post-season games 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 Yannick Tifu) for the all-time team lead. His twenty-four playoff points are third most behind Cruthers (34) and Tifu (28). Labelle has recorded the second most post-season shots on goal, firing 86 shots in his twenty-eight post-season contests with Reading.
Labelle, who has scored over twenty goals in four of his five seasons in the ECHL, has racked up 213 total points (113g-100a) and 708 penalty minutes in 264 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. Overall, in his pro career, Labelle has 303 points (151g-152a) and 1123 penalty minutes in 472 career pro regular season games.
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.
The Royals open the 2014-15 season on Saturday, October 18, at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia, where the team will face the Wheeling Nailers. The home portion of the schedule will kick off the following Saturday (October 25, 2014 @ 7:05 pm) when the Elmira Jackals travel to Santander Arena. Royals’ season tickets are currently available. Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.