Vancouver, B.C. – The Western Hockey League is proud to recognize Prince Albert Raiders forward Brett Leason, who was named the recipient of the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence by NHL Central Scouting on Saturday at the 2019 NHL Draft.
The 20-year-old Leason, a product of Calgary, Alta., went on to be selected by the Washington Capitals in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft (56th overall) after having been passed over at the 2017 and 2018 NHL Drafts.
“Never would have expected an award of that magnitude,” Leason said in a release from the NHL. “Kind of makes sense, my story, everything that’s happened over the years, commitment to the game, dedication to improve. It’s very special to receive that honour.”
Presented by NHL Central Scouting in honour of the late McGuire, the award is given to the candidate who best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness, and athleticism. McGuire is the former director of the NHL’s Central Scouting Services.
“This award encompasses the best traits of our game and the recipient this year portrays these core attributes, having displayed the type of dedication, motivation and passion that is required to improve both on and off the ice in pursuing the goal of playing in the National Hockey League,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting.
“In Brett Leason, you have a player who has persevered through going undrafted, being traded, playing through injury, yet all the while continuing to apply himself to improve and be the best he could be, which resulted in a spot on Canada’s World Junior Championship team, a WHL Championship with the Prince Albert Raiders, and positioning himself to be selected in the 2019 NHL Draft.”
Leason enjoyed a breakout campaign, leading the Raiders in scoring with 89 points (36G-53A) in 55 games during the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season. The Calgary, Alta. product led the Raiders in scoring during the regular season as the team captured the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the WHL’s regular season champion.
“When he came over, I think the biggest thing for us was we just wanted him to play the way he was comfortable and that was by skating and puck-handling and not running guys through the boards, but making a hit when it’s there,” said Marc Habscheid, Head Coach of the Prince Albert Raiders. “He’s very intelligent, so we just wanted him to do the things that were successful for him through minor hockey.”
The 6-foot-4, 199-pound forward also led the Raiders in scoring during the 2019 WHL Playoffs with 25 points (10G-15A) in 22 games as his team captured their second-ever WHL Championship. Leason also represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, recording five points (3G-2A) in five games.
Between the Tri-City Americans and Raiders, Leason has recorded 140 points (60G-80A) in 190 WHL regular season games. In 33 WHL playoff games, Leason has recorded 28 points (10G-18A).