Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 08/22/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Reggie Leach was known as a goal scorer during his 13-year NHL career but assists have become his priority in retirement.
Known as the Riverton Rifle for his booming slapshot, the now 63-year-old Stanley Cup winner with the Philadelphia Flyers spends much of his time working with at-risk aboriginal youth.
He talks to them about suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse, women victimized by violence and even the dangers of social media.
"A lot of native kids commit suicide. They always think people don't like them. You have to talk to these kids, you can't ignore them," he said.
Leach lives on Manitoulin Island, west of Sudbury, Ont.
Despite his own alcoholism -- Leach has been sober since 1985 -- he never contemplated suicide, he said.
"It all comes down to making the right life choices. You've got to stay off drugs, stay positive and keep yourself busy.
"It's not only in First Nations communities, it's all over," he said.
He also preaches the importance of getting an education and eliminating bullying.
"Bullying is the worst thing right now; it's all over the world. But just as bad is the bystander that lets them do it," he said.
Leach was in Manitoba for a few days to help out at a hockey school in Gimli and participate in a charity golf tournament.
He'll be back in the province Sept. 21 to headline a sports banquet in his hometown to raise money for minor hockey programs and for the restoration of the Riverton Heritage Centre -- which used to serve as its train station.
Riverton is 130 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
The event will also serve as a reunion for alumni of the Riverton Lions senior hockey team.
"We're going to raise as much as we can. I've been raising money for Riverton for years, for minor hockey and the rink," Leach said.
He played for the Riverton Lions as a teen, an experience that was overwhelming because his teammates doubled as his heroes.
"That's why I wanted to play hockey. I based myself after them," he said.
Clif Evans, co-chairman of the event -- dubbed the Legacy of the Lions -- said he's hoping to raise up to $20,000, to be split evenly between both causes.
Evans said his group also wants to restore the Home of Reggie Leach sign on the highway.
Tickets are $60 and can be bought at the town office and the Riverton Motor Inn.
Leach, who also played junior hockey for the Flin Flon Bombers, has yet to visit the MTS Centre to see the reborn Winnipeg Jets play, but said he'd like to return Nov. 15 when the Flyers pay a visit.
He won the Stanley Cup with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975 and scored 381 goals during his career, which also included stints with the Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals and Detroit Red Wings. Leach was also drafted by the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association.
He is part of one of the few father-son tandems to have won hockey's holy grail. His son, Jamie, who played parts of five seasons in the NHL, won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2013 A2
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Team Jones claims seventh provincial curling title
Oswald says racism exists in Manitoba; criticizes Pallister's comments
NDP delegates from remote constituencies get mail-in ballots, electronic voting
Police continue to investigate city's first homicide of 2015
Suspects nabbed in North End robbery
Sapotaweyak Cree Nation sets up teepee to protest Bipole III transmission line
Tobogganing-ban idea ripped
Two young teens face charges after breaking into a Main Street business
RCMP say alcohol was a factor in snowmobile accident in RM of Stanley
Time-travel flick familiar terrain
Mending Today's NDP no easy task
Things to do in Winnipeg this week
SEIZING THE MOMENT
Readers divided on 'racist city' claim
Police investigating first homicide of 2015
No to ban on tobogganing, say parents
MP Ashton takes over aboriginal portfolio
Learning SimCity's lessons
Meet Jordan McConnell, the Winnipeg luthier who handcrafts guitars
New voice for evolving community
Your weekend weather
Manager trashes firm's trash job
In Conversation with Linden MacIntyre
'Bad' option versus 'worse'
Controversial researcher addresses accusations
Downtown tower's panels secured
Rehab-centred drug court gets funding renewed
Leaders see opportunity for change as a result of negative coverage
Dépaysée, mais avec humour
Let's get to know each other a little bit better
Ashton offers rural appeal
Downtown rail line cleared after freight train derails
Tory boss rejects Maclean's conclusion
Newcomers want to be heard
To serve and protect