By Carter Brooks
Photo by Len Redkoles
Reggie Leach, one of Riverton's finest, has been announced as one of Canada's 83 newest recipients of the Order of Canada.
Canada's Governor General Julie Payette recently announced the chosen 83-member 2019 class of appointees for the Order of Canada. Eight Manitobans, including Leach, were included on that list. This distinction recognizes exemplary Canadians who have contributed greatly to society in their local communities.
Joining Leach as recipients of the Order of Canada from the province of Manitoba are Big Dave McLean (music), Thomas Denton (social work), John Wade (patient care), Mark Godden (dance), Patrick Crawford (dentistry), Marion Lewis (RH Disease) and Lotfollah Shafia (satellites).
Leach, 69, spent four years in the late 60s playing for the Flin Flon Bombers, before taking his talents to the Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals, Detroit Red Wings and most notably the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL. The Riverton Rocket played a total of 934 regular season NHL contests, putting together 381 goals, 666 points and 387 penalty minutes. He won two Stanley Cups (1972, 1975) with the Flyers and earned the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1976 despite being on the losing side of the Stanley Cup Final.
Upon retirement from playing hockey, Leach has served in many roles within the hockey community back in his home First Nation of Berens River. He has done everything from coaching to managing and scouting over the past 30 years in minor, junior and semi-professional hockey.
Outside of hockey, Leach has been very active in the Aboriginal communities, spending his time on visitations across Canada to hundreds of different First Nations and Indian Reserves. His focus is on at-risk youth and his message is that of experience. He often resorts to teaching the Indigenous teens and pre-teens on his visits through demonstrated bad-experiences or his shortcomings. Reggie Leach also hosts a fundraising golf tournament and sports banquet in Manitoba annually, with regular participation from good friend/teammate and fellow Manitoban Order of Canada recipient Bobby Clarke.