2009-10: Joseph Labate played for Holy Angels Academy in Richfield, Minnesota. In 25 games, he scored 25 goals and added 29 assists for 58 points. In 2 playoff games, he picked up 1 assist.
2010-11: Labate played for Holy Angels, scoring 27 goals and adding 22 assists for 49 points in 25 games. In 1 playoff game, Labate scored 2 goals and added 1 assist for 3 points. Labate also played for Team Southeast in the Upper Midwest Elite League, scoring 2 goals and adding 6 assists for 8 points in 5 games. His time with that team was shortened due to a foot injury. In 3 playoff games, he scored 4 goals and added 2 assists for 6 points. Labate was a finalist for the 2011 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award. Labate has committed to the University of Wisconsin.
2011-12: Labate made the jump from Minnesota high school hockey directly to college hockey; skating in 37 games for the Wisconsin Badgers as a freshman. In what was an otherwise disappointing season team-wise, Labate was the Badgers' fifth-leading scorer. He scored 5 goals with 15 assists and was plus-3 with 24 penalty minutes. Wisconsin suffered just its third losing season since coach Mike Eaves took over in 2002-03, finishing tenth in the WCHA.
2012-13: Labate was the fifth-leading scorer for WCHA playoff champion Wisconsin in his sophomore season. Playing left wing most of the season on the Badgers' top two lines, he scored 9 goals with 4 assists and was +11 with 51 penalty minutes in 41 games. After finishing tied for fourth place with Denver in the regular season, Wisconsin won five straight WCHA playoff games, including a 3-2 win over Colorado College in the Broadmoor Trophy Championship game. Massachusetts-Lowell defeated the Badgers, 6-1, in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals.
Labate currently projects as a third line pivot, but could have a higher ceiling if he ties everything all together. He is a well-rounded player with size to burn, solid skating skills, and good defensive awareness. Canucks management has asked him to add strength to his 6'4 frame, to which he has obliged. His offensive production should increase as he focuses on this aspect of his training, stating he aspires to have more of a physical impact on games.
The Wisconsin Badgers had a strong finish to their 2012-13 season, as did Joseph Labate. He made improvements in his play away from the puck, becoming more of a well-rounded threat. He will be relied upon more heavily this season with the Badgers as they take part in the inaugural season of Big Ten hockey. Although it is still early in his development, it is conceivable that Labate could eventually center one of the Canucks' checking lines with the improvements he has made to his defensive game.