MANITOBA—Former National Hockey League (NHL) star Reggie Leach will be one of 11 individuals who will be receiving the Order of Manitoba this year. Mr. Leach, who retired from the NHL in 1984, lives in Aundeck Omni Kaning his wife Dawn Madahbee.
The announcement was made last week that Mr. Leach will be receiving the Order of Manitoba, reported the Anishinabek News in its May 16 edition. Each year up a to a dozen people are selected for the award, considered Manitoba’s highest honour. It is presented to those who have demonstrated excellence in various categories.
“It’s something to be definitely proud of,” stated Mr. Leach in the release. “I think it’s great for everybody that we all come from different fields.”
Mr. Leach, 66, was born in Riverton, Manitoba and has lived in Aundeck Omni Kaning since 2007.
Following a stellar junior career with Manitoba’s Flin Flon Bombers, Mr. Leach went on to have a 13 season NHL career. A highlight was winning the Stanley Cup in 1975 with the Philadelphia Flyers.
In his career he also played with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and California Golden Seals.
He appeared in a total of 1,028 NHL games and earned 735 points, including 428 goals.
Mr. Leach, who was nicknamed the ‘Riverton Rifle,’ netted a NHL-high 61 goals during the 1975-1976 season with the Flyers. He was also presented with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s playoff MVP in 1976, even though Philadelphia was swept in four straight games in the finals by the Montreal Canadiens.
“I think any accolade you get is a big award,” Mr. Leach told Anishinabek News. “I get these awards because of what I’ve done after hockey.”
Mr. Leach last played in the NHL in 1983, but he continues to be a well-known figure. Last year he came out with ‘The Riverton Rifle,’ a book detailing his life story. The book received plenty of praise for its honesty as it included all the ups and downs in his life.
These days Mr. Leach, who has been sober for more than three decades, is also a highly sought after motivational speaker. He is viewed as an inspiring role model, especially for aboriginals as he enjoys talking to people and telling them the importance of making positive life choices.
Mr. Leach also keeps himself busy by assisting his son Jamie, also a former NHLer, with their Shoot To Score hockey school. The school operates in various locations across Canada and the United States.
Mr. Leach is one of five individuals with Aboriginal connections who will receive the Order of Manitoba this year.
Mr. Leach will attend the awards ceremony, to be held July 7 in Winnipeg. His wife Dawn and his daughter Brandy are also expected to attend the ceremony.