Born: January 3, 1952
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Height: 6'1" Weight: 204 lbs. Shoots: Left
Drafted by: Buffalo Sabres, 2nd Round, 25th
Overall, 1972 NHL Amateur Draft.
Seasons with Buffalo: 1972-73 to 1974-75,
Uniform Number: 5, 23
|Coming into the 1972 Amatuer Draft, Sabres GM Punch Imlach had one thing in mind: defense. Though the 1970 Expansion club had been reasonably succesful in ti's first two years, they were notoriously porous on the back line, well above the league average in shots against. With the seeds of a good offensive corps planted, Imlach went to work on the defense, using his first pick in the 1972 Draft to select highly touted defenseman Jim Schoenfeld. A bruising hitter, "Schoney" would go on to be a fixture on the Sabres blueline for the next decade. Imlach had an extra pick in the Second Round, acquired in a trade that sent Chris Evans to the St. Louis Blues in the spring of 1972. With that pick, the 25th Overall in the Draft, Imlach selected Loyola University defensive standout Larry Carriere.
Carriere's road to the NHL started, as it does for many NHL players, in the Canadian junior leagues. In 1968, Carriere joined the Verdun Maple Leafs of the Quebec Junior Hockey League. Carriere only lasted half a season in Verdun, deciding instead to attend college. Carriere left Verdun and enrolled at Loyola University in Montreal in the fall of 1968.
|Carriere played hockey at Loyola from 1969-1972, while earning a degree in Business Administration. For Carriere, the collegiate route offered not only an education, but also the chance to gain an edge over players coming out of the junior ranks. As many collegiate players were older, and had "graduated" from the junior ranks, the level of play was higher. Carriere gained experience and maturity that many junior players lacked entering the draft. By the time Carriere was set to graduate, he was a much sought after defensive prospect.|
|Carriere graduated from Loyola in the spring of 1972, and attended the Buffalo Sabres' 1972 training camp. Going into camp, neither he nor Schoenfeld were expected to make the team. Both did with the help of another Punch Imlach 1972 acquisition, veteran defenseman Tim Horton. Horton had been lured out of retirement by Imlach, who coached Horton when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, to help whip the Sabres defense into shape. Horton took the young defensemen under his wing, leading them not with words but with actions. Horton was Carriere's mentor during his first years in the league, and helped mold him into the solid defenseman he would become.
Carriere left training camp with a hard-earned spot in the Sabres' lineup. Carriere began the 1972-73 season with the Sabres, and remained with the team through the end of November, when he was injured during a game against the Boston Bruins on November 30th. The recipient of a hard check, Carriere slammed his head against the glass and suffered a concussion which knocked him out of the lineup for nearly a month. When he was ready to return in late December,
|coach Joe Crozier sent Carriere down to the Sabres' farm club, the Cincinnati Swords of the American Hockey league, to get back into shape. Carriere remained in Cincinnati until early March, playing in 30 games for the Swords.
Carriere was recalled to the Sabres on March 5, 1973 after injuries forced Schoenfeld and Mike Robitaille out of the lineup. In his first game back with the club, he assisted on the team's first goal and scored the game-tying goal as the Sabres came from behind to tie the Kings in Los Angeles. Carriere stayed with the Sabres for the remainder of the season, finishing with 2 goals and 8 assists in 40 games played. In the Playoffs, Carriere played in all six of the Sabres games as they lost 4 games to 2 to the Montreal Canadiens. It was the first Playoff appearance for the Sabres in franchise history.
|Carriere would spend the next two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. In 1973-74, he led the Sabres defense in goals, assists and total points with 6, 24 and 30 respectively. In 1974-75, Carriere's point totals dropped, but his defensive play improved. While he scored only 1 goal and 11 assists, he played in all 80 of his team's games, and improved his plus/minus rating by 10 points, to a +12. His play wasn't as flashy as teammate Schoenfeld, but Carriere's hard work and tough play made him one of the better defensemen on a vastly improved Buffalo team. In the 1975 Playoffs, Carriere appeared in all 17 of the Sabres games as they advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.
At the end of the 1974-75 season, Sabres left wing Rick Dudley left the team to join the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association. Imlach filled the void by trading Carriere, along with the team's First Round pick in the 1976 Amateur Draft (Greg Carroll) and a sum of cash to the Atlanta Flames for left wing Jacques Richard. The trade turned out to be a disappointment all around, as Richard, a former First Round pick, failed to deliver the offensive numbers he was expected to. Carriere too was disappionted on hearing he'd been traded. When he approached the GM about it, Imlach vowed that if given the chance, he would get Carriere back someday.
Carriere played a season-and-a-half in Atlanta, and was traded during
|Carriere checks Boston Bruins star and future Hall of Famer Phil Esposito.|
|the 1976-77 season to the Vancouver Canucks. Early in the 1977-78 season, Carriere was traded again, this time to the Los Angeles Kings. Late in the season, the Kings attempted to send Carriere to the Springfield Indians of the AHL. To do so, they had to place Carriere on waivers. When they did, Punch Imlach kept his word and plucked Carriere off the waiver wire. Carriere was back on the Sabres roster for the end of the 1977-78 season. He played in 9 games for the Sabres in 1977-78. At the end of the season, Carriere retired.
After retirement, Carriere took a job with Molson Breweries in Toronto, Ontario. He kept active playing in Alumni games. In 1980, Carriere got a call from Imlach. Imlach had been fired by the Sabres organization in 1979, and was once again the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs were in need of a defenseman to help shore up their blue line for the stretch run into the Playoffs. Carriere came out of retirement after being out of the NHL for a year-and-a-half, to help his former GM. He played 2 games as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1979-80 season, and 2 during the 1980 Playoffs. At the end of the playoffs, Carriere retired once again, and returned to his job at Molson.
|In 1985, Carriere, now living back in Montreal, rejoined the Sabres organization as a Scout for the Quebec Region. Carriere spent 8 years travelling throughout Quebec and Northern Ontario, evaluating amateur talent for the Sabres.|
|In 1993, Carriere was promoted, becoming the Sabres' Director of Player Evaluation. In 1995, Carriere was promoted again, becoming Assistant General Manager under GM John Muckler. When Muckler was dismissed in1997, Carriere took over as Interim General Manager, a position he held until current Sabres GM Darcy Regier was hired.
As of the start of the 2001-02 season, Carriere remains in his position as Assistant General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres. His duties include overseeing the development of professional players in the minor leagues. Carriere is also instrumental in dealings between the Sabres and their minor league affilites, The Rochester Americans of the AHL and the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League. Carriere serves as the Sabre's representative on the American Hockey League Board of Governors.
|Photo Credit: Bill Wippert|
|Carriere and Norm Gratton|