Former Ice D-man nabs ECHL honour

Joey Leach earns Performer of the Year award, with the highest plus/minus in the ECHL.

The ECHL on Monday announced that South Carolina Stingrays’ defenseman Joey Leach is the recipient of the AMI Graphics Plus Performer of the Year award after finishing the season with a plus-minus rating of +40.

Leach, who finished fifth in the ECHL last season at +37, posted an even or better or rating in 50 of his 58 games this season. He was the ECHL Plus Performer of the Month for March after posting a league-best +13 during the month, and he went +22 over the final 20 games of the season.

A native of Wadena, Saskatchewan, Leach has tallied 44 points (8g-36a) in 169 career ECHL games with South Carolina, Fort Wayne and Bakersfield. Leach has also appeared in 23 career AHL games with Oklahoma City, Lake Erie and Hershey, recording four assists.

Leach, a former captain of the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, had a four year WHL career with the team and was part of the 2011 championship squad that captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Leach, a third-round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2010 NHL Draft, tallied 27 goals and 107 assists over his major-junior career, all of which was with the Ice in Cranbrook.