Leach named Ice captain

Veteran defenceman picks up captaincy mantle, will lead for the rest of the season.

Joey Leach has been named captain of the Kootenay Ice last Friday after the trade deadline passed the evening before, picking up the role for the remainder of the season.

Leach, who has worn an alternate mantle for most of the season, picks up from former captain Drew Czerwonka, who held the responsibility before his premature retirement  in October.

Jagger Dirk, a 19-year-old defenceman, will take up Leach’s alternate role to lead alongside Brock Montgomery and Sam Reinhart, who wear the other letters.

“Leadership is important on any team and it comes from within,” said Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth. “When you have a young team, it is even more important to have players that know what it takes to win and develop that winning culture.

“All four players wearing letters were a part of our 2011 championship team and understand the standard of excellence we strive to accomplish.”

Leach, for his part, is happy to fill the role, as he’s had three captains to learn from over his career with the Ice.

“You got to be a leader on and off the ice,” said Leach. “They’ve [management] trusted me with that. I’ve watched three great captains in Czerwonka, McNabb and Sylvester before me, so I’ve had a few while I’ve been here and they’ve showed me the way to be a positive leader.”

Ice head coach Ryan McGill notes that showing up everyday to work hard in practice and games are Leach’s biggest qualities.

“Sometimes, it’s not always pretty, but his heart and mind are in the right place and when you have a guy who leads by example like that, that’s all we want,” said McGill.

“We don’t need anybody to stand up in the middle of the dressing room with speeches, we just want everybody to fall in line with the work ethic and intelligent play, and that’s what he does.”