Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Riverton Rifle makes play for young lives

  • Print

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.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2013 A2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Paul Maurice addresses media at end of 13/14 season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google