Labelle takes his scoring overseas

Three-year Royals veteran Olivier Labelle is packing up his things and heading to Austria next season. (Mike Ashmore)

Three-year Royals veteran Olivier Labelle is packing up his things and heading to Austria next season. (Mike Ashmore)

It has been quiet on the Reading Royals front since they blew a 2-0 series lead and were mercilessly booted out of the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Almost two months after the heartbreaking elimination by the Elmira Jackals, the first news of the 2012-13 season has come about, and it isn’t a pleasant one for the Royals faithful.

Gritty forward Olivier Labelle has taken his crash-the-net, goal-scoring touch overseas to play with the Moser Medical Graz99ers in Austria.

The 26 year old has played with the Royals the last three seasons and five overall in the ECHL. He had a career year in 2011-12 with the Royals, marking new highs in goals (27), assists (30) and points (57).

Despite all this, he only played in two games in the AHL this past season with the Providence Bruins. It could be speculated to have something to do with his unsightly minus-15 or the so-so record the Royals maintained all season long.

This is Labelle’s first time playing in Europe and is a move no one can fault him for after repeated attempts to stay in the AHL.

The loss of Labelle proves a daunting task for Royals head coach Larry Courville to fill. He played a big role on the team with the ability to get under the skin of opposing players and had the ability to get the gritty, dirty goals in front of the net.

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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