SACO – In addition to their sticks and skates, John Laliberte and Greg Moore needed to pack an extra essential when they each prepared for the 2011-2012 hockey season: their passports.
Laliberte, a Saco resident who played at Boston University from 2002-2006, and Moore, a Lisbon resident who played at Maine from 2002-2006, are traveling to Europe to play hockey this season.
They’ve already departed Maine for Germany, where both will play this season in the German Ice Hockey League.
Laliberte will begin his third season with Wolfsburg while Moore will join Augsburg, and they’re two of a handful of former in-state and University of Maine hockey players who will spend this season playing professional hockey in Europe.
“In every country, the style of play is different,” Laliberte said. “Germany has a lot of imported players, so it’s kind of like playing a North American style. Other leagues are different, but there’s more room to skate, and more room to breathe. It’s easier for forwards and harder for defensemen.”
Training camps in European hockey begin nearly a month before the North American leagues, and German league’s regular season opens Sept. 16. Laliberte began training camp with Wolfsburg, in central Germany, on Aug. 6, while Moore left Aug. 8 to join Augsburg, 80 miles northwest of Munich in southern Germany.
“It will take some time once I get over there to get used to the time difference,” said Moore, a 27-year-old right wing. “Their training camp is a lot longer with two-a-days, so it’s more of a grind for training camp.
Laliberte trained this summer in Saco at MHG Ice Centre and the OA Sports Center with a handful of other local college and professional players, including former Maine defensemen Matt Duffy and Travis Ramsey and Maine forward Matt Mangene, while Moore trained in Cromwell, Conn.
“Guys at the Division I and pro levels, they’ve got to have that kind of caliber of players around them,” Laliberte said. “It makes you that much better in competing, and you get better every day in training and on the ice.”
Laliberte spent two seasons (2006-2007 and 2007-2008) with three AHL teams and two ECHL teams before joining the Odense Bulldogs in Denmark in 2008. This year, the 28-year-old left wing enters the final year of his contract with Wolfsburg. He scored 21 goals and 27 assists in 48 games last season.
Moore, a Hobey Baker Award finalist in 2006, turned pro after his senior season and spent the next five seasons in the AHL with five teams (Hartford, Bridgeport, Syracuse, Adirondack and Springfield), including 10 games with the New York Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I tried to see what kind of offers I could get in the AHL,” said Moore, a right wing who split last season between Adirondack and Springfield and scored nine goals and 15 assists. “It’s a little more stressful, just packing up and getting ready to move to a foreign country and to get used to a different culture. But my wife (Candace) and I are really excited to experience something new. It’s a new challenge and a new chapter for us.”
Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: