Netminder Michel Larocque spent eleven years in the NHL. He was best known as Ken Dryden's backup when the Montreal Canadiens dominated the league in the 1970s.
Born in Hull, Quebec, Larocque crossed the Ottawa River to play junior in the OHA with the 67's. Beginning in 1969-70, he led the league in shutouts three straight years and played 162 games over that same time. He also posted the lowest goals against mark in the OHA twice and was named to the league's first and second all-star teams once each. Larocque was also picked as an honourary junior with Team Canada for the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR.
The young star was selected sixth overall by the Montreal Canadiens at the 1972 Amateur Draft. He made an impressive pro debut the next year with a league leading 2.50 goals against average in 47 games for the AHL's Nova Scotia Voyageurs. Larocque was voted on to the league's second all-star team and appeared ready for the NHL.
When Ken Dryden sat out the 1973-74 season to finish law school, Larocque played 27 games as a rookie backing up Wayne Thomas and Michel Plasse. His confidence was give a boost when Montreal opted to start him in the post-season but the team was knocked out by the New York Rangers in first round.
Following the return of Dryden in 1974-75, Larocque settled in as the Habs' backup for the next five seasons. He averaged 30 appearances per year and was a part of the club's four consecutive Stanley Cup wins between 1976 and 1979. Beginning in 1977, he shared the Vezina trophy for three straight years with Dryden.
In 1979-80, Montreal was forced to retool and brought Denis Heron in to share the goalkeeping responsibilities with Larocque. The club was eliminated in the quarter-finals by the Minnesota North Stars and the veteran netminder was relegated to second string status in 1980-81. Prior to the March deadline he was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Robert Picard. He saw plenty of rubber behind the Leafs' horrid defence and was in goal when the Buffalo Sabres scored an NHL-record nine goals in one period during a 14-4 loss. Larocque helped Toronto squeeze into the playoffs where they were crushed by the New York Islanders.
Larocque attempted to start fresh in 1981-82 and played 50 games for a Toronto team that managed to be worse than the previous year's edition. He toiled briefly for the Leafs in 1982-83 before moving on to Philadelphia and St. Louis. He retired after playing 13 games for the IHL's Peoria Rivermen in 1984-85.