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Leason loving life in Prince Albert

Often times a player can point to times in their career where things really changed for them, either for the good or for the bad. Prince Albert Raiders forward Brett Leason is no different. For the 19-year-old forward a trade didn’t just mean a change of scenery, it meant he was given a chance prove himself.

After putting up 73 points in 33 games in the AMBHL (4th in league scoring) Brett Leason was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft 50th overall by the Tri-City Americans. After being drafted by the Americans, Leason moved up to play his 15-year-old season in the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League where he put up an impressive 83 points in 30 games good for 3rd in league scoring. The next season is when the Calgary native got his first cup of coffee of WHL action as a 16-year-old when he got into one game with Tri-City.

During the 2016-17 campaign, Leason put up 18 points in 68 games in what was his first draft eligible year, including one three-point game and another two point offering. It was clear he had an offensive side to his game, he just needed a chance to show it. NHL scouts saw past the low minutes Leason was receiving and the hulking forward saw himself rewarded by being ranked #133 by NHL Central Scouting but ultimately ended up going undrafted.

The beginning of Leason’s 18-year-old year didn’t go as planned, in the first 12 games he had only one point. It was clear he knew he had more to bring. “I was buried in the lineup,” Leason said. It was made even more obvious after a trade to the Prince Albert Raiders was consummated. He then tallied 32 points in 54 games to end the season with the Raiders. “I came over to P.A. and I got a chance to play my game in all situations; my confidence shot up and so did my play.”

With his confidence high and first line minutes waiting for him on what was suspected to be a very potent offense in Prince Albert, Leason blasted out of the gates like a thoroughbred ready to run.

“We saw in the second half last year that he was able to score with some frequency, and there was an expectation that he would build on that this year,” said Prince Albert Raiders play-by-play voice Trevor Redden “but I definitely didn’t see this coming.”

Playing most of the season with centre Sean Montgomery and winger Aliaksei Protas, Leason has at least a point in every one of the raiders 17 games this season including 14 multi-point games and a current multi-point streak of ten games. His impressive play has led Prince Albert to a team-record season-start of 16 wins and one loss, good for first place in the Western Hockey League, 1st place in DUBNetwork’s bi-weekly power rankings and 1st in the CHL’s weekly power rankings. Redden continued “It’s clear he worked hard on his skating this summer and now has another gear. In addition to a great shot and a good set of hands, he has the speed to create chances for himself and makes him very difficult to defend.”

“In addition to a great shot and a good set of hands, he has the speed to create chances for himself and makes him very difficult to defend.”

– Trevor Redden

Prince Albert hasn’t won a playoff series since the 2004-05 season when they swept Saskatoon in the 1st round and beat Medicine Hat 4-2 in the Eastern Conference semi finals. The six foot-four inch forward is ready to change that. “The team is rolling right now, so we’re looking forward to the playoffs.” If the Raiders do see success in the playoffs, it’s likely Brett Leason will be a big part of it.

Earlier this month the Raiders forward was presented with an incredible opportunity to show a national audience what he was made of when he was invited to participate for Team WHL in the CIBC Canada Russia Series. “It means a lot just to get noticed and be a part of this special event against Russia. It’s been a great experience so far.” Leason was a big part of both games against Russia, scoring a primary assist in game one and using his speed and size all over the ice in game 2.

Is an invite to Team Canada’s world junior camp later next month on the horizon? If he keeps this up will an NHL draft pick be headed his way? While these items are still unknowns, if Leason keeps this pace up he will be impossible to ignore.

 

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    Jesse Phillips
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    Often times a player can point to times in their career where things really changed for them, either for the good or for the bad. Prince Albert Raider
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