April 23, 1950|
Riverton, Manitoba, Canada
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)|
California Golden Seals
Detroit Red Wings
3rd overall, 1970|
Reginald Joseph Leach (born April 23, 1950) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey right winger who played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. He is best known for his time in Philadelphia, winning a Stanley Cup with the Flyers in 1975 and being a member of the LCB line.
Nicknamed "The Riverton Rifle" and "The Chief", Leach was drafted third overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft. Boston traded Leach, Rick Smith and Bob Stewart to California for Carol Vadnais and Don O'Donoghue on February 23, 1972. After playing three seasons in Oakland, the Golden Seals traded Leach to Philadelphia for Larry Wright, Al MacAdam and 1974 first rounder (Ron Chipperfield) on May 24, 1974. He contributed to the Philadelphia Flyers' Stanley Cup win in 1974-75. He finished his NHL career with a one-season stop with the Detroit Red Wings.
His best season was the 1975-76 season with the Philadelphia Flyers, when he set career highs in goals (61), points (91), game-winning goals (11), and plus-minus with a +73 rating. Leach's 61 goals earned him the goal-scoring title (now the Richard Trophy) for that season, as well as the current Flyers franchise record for most goals in a season.
Leach is perhaps best remembered for being one of only five players, the first Flyer, and the only non-goaltender to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, as a member of the losing team in the Final, following Roger Crozier (Detroit Red Wings, in 1966) and Glenn Hall (St. Louis Blues, 1968) and preceding Ron Hextall (Philadelphia, 1987) and Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, 2003). He earned this distinction in 1976 while setting NHL records for most goals in a single post-season, with 19 in 16 games, surpassing the Montreal Canadiens' Newsy Lalonde's 1919 mark of 17 goals, and longest consecutive games goal-scoring streak in the playoffs at 10, bettering the 7 set by another Canadien, Maurice Richard, as his team went on to be swept in the Final by, ironically, Montreal. The latter record remains unrivaled, but the former was matched by the Edmonton Oilers' Jari Kurri in 1985, although Leach established it in 2 fewer games.
During that same playoff season Leach recorded a five-goal game vs. the Boston Bruins, a record he shares today with Maurice Richard, Darryl Sittler, Mario Lemieux and Newsy Lalonde. Also, his total of 80 goals for the season and playoffs together set a new NHL record which stood until 1980-81 when Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders scored 85.
He played 934 career NHL games, scoring 381 goals and 285 assists for 666 points. Reggie was also part of the Flyers' 35-game unbeaten streak in 1980, which is a record that still stands today, as well as the Flyers' home game unbeaten streak of 22 games in the same year. Leach also played for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup helping to win the championship. He was also a member of the NHL All-Star teams in 1976 and 1980.
In late 2007, Leach joined the Manitoulin Islanders of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League as an associate coach. In the spring of 2008, it was announced that Leach would return to Manitoulin for the 2008-09 season as the full-time head coach and director of hockey operations.
Leach is of Ojibwe ethnicity, a member of Berens River First Nation in Manitoba. His son Jamie Leach played in the NHL for parts of 5 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. Reggie and his two children have all represented Canada - Reggie with Team Canada in 1976; Jamie in the World Juniors in 1989; and his daughter Brandie in the world Lacrosse championships in Scotland in 1991-92.
In 1985, Leach entered rehab for alcohol abuse, and has remained sober for over 30 years.
In bold are NHL record(s) (tied with Jari Kurri)
|1966-67||Flin Flon Bombers||MJHL||45||67||46||113||118||14||18||12||30||15|
|1966-67||Flin Flon Bombers||MC||--||--||--||--||--||6||6||1||7||11|
|1967-68||Flin Flon Bombers||WCHL||59||87||44||131||208||15||12||3||15||48|
|1968-69||Flin Flon Bombers||WCHL||22||36||10||46||49||18||13||8||21||0|
|1969-70||Flin Flon Bombers||WCHL||57||65||46||111||168||17||16||11||27||50|
|1970-71||Oklahoma City Blazers||CHL||41||24||18||42||32||--||--||--||--||--|
|1971-72||California Golden Seals||NHL||17||6||7||13||7||--||--||--||--||--|
|1972-73||California Golden Seals||NHL||76||23||12||35||45||--||--||--||--||--|
|1973-74||California Golden Seals||NHL||78||22||24||46||34||--||--||--||--||--|
|1982-83||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||78||15||17||32||13||--||--||--||--||--|
John K. Samson wrote and recorded a song about Leach, which was titled "Petition" on his 2010 EP Provincial Road 222 and retitled "www.ipetitions.com/petition/rivertonrifle/" on his 2012 album Provincial. The song recites the text of Samson's own petition to have Leach inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and was formally presented to the HHOF in 2013.
Leach was the answer to a radio question in the TV series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In the fourth episode of the show's sixth season, Mac wins a radio prize after guessing Leach's name at the last second to the question, "Who holds the Philadelphia Flyers' franchise record for goals in a season?"