We are excited to have NHL player, Reggie Leach, join us at Huu-ay-aht Days! Reggie, known as the “Riverton Rifle”, is considered one of the premier goal scorers of the 1970s and one of the best Indigenous players in the NHL. Reggie was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother was from Eagle Lake First Nation, an Ojibwe community in northwestern Ontario. He was raised by his paternal grandparents in Riverton.
He started his NHL career 1970 with the Boston Bruins. He then went on to play with the Philadelphia Flyers until 1982. During his time with the Flyers, he helped bring his team to victory winning the Stanley Cup in 1975. Leach ended his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1982–83 season.
In 1976, Leach was selected to represent Team Canada at the Canada Cup. Leach told author Mike Commito in 2016 that it was one of the greatest moments in his life: “Here I am, a little Native kid out of Manitoba, getting to play with the best players in Canada and playing against the best players in the world.” Canada played Czechoslovakia in the Final and clinched the gold medal in Montreal.
Toward the end of his professional hockey career, Leach battled alcoholism, often at the expense of his personal and professional life. After a failed marriage, Leach checked himself into rehab in 1985 and has been sober ever since.
In 2006, Leach opened the Shoot to Score Hockey School with his son, Jamie. The school runs hockey development camps in communities across the country. As Leach told Commito in 2016, “I am more proud of what I did after hockey. It was just a stepping stone for what the Creator wanted me to do after.” Leach and his son reach more than 2,000 children every year and often work with First Nations communities.
For Reggie’s Leach’s full story and to read about all the awards he has won, you can go to: