Success can often be attributed to a lot of hard work and Prince Albert Raiders forward Brett Leason has put in a lot of it.
Just 27 games into the year and Leason is making career-high numbers. He’s scored 27 goals and 33 assists for a best in the league 60 points, nearly double his 2017-18 season total of 32.
Now Leason will take those talents to Team Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp in Victoria.
It’s incredible in many ways in no small part because Leason has never put up numbers like this before and because at 19 years old, many coaches wouldn’t give him the chance.
However, Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid did, believing it’s not fair to give up on a 19-year-old player just because he’s in his second last year in the league.
“It’s a lesson for everybody,” Habscheid said. “He went through the draft twice and just to count kids out because they’re 19 is a mistake. He’s still a teenager and he’s a good player.”
Arguably the best player in the WHL right now, in fact. He’s leading the league in with 27 goals including five shorthanded goals and seven game-winning goals and boasts a WHL high plus/minus of 42.
It’s an outcome that not even Habscheid could predict, despite having faith Leason could and would get better.
For his part, Leason took that faith and ran with it pouring himself into off-season training.
“I really worked on my strength and speed and agility to take myself to the next level,” Leason said.
“I came into camp with lots of confidence, the coach trusts me and lets me play my game and overall it’s been working out.”
Led by Leason the Raiders are the hottest team in junior hockey boasting a 26-1 record. The club hasn’t lost a game since early October and averaged five goals a game in November. Leason himself averaged 2.4 points.
“It definitely feels good to be someone they can count on every night and just get points the way we do,” Leason said.
“I’ve had a great line of teammates the whole time. (Sean) Montgomery has been with me the whole time. We’ve been working together continuously, we have that chemistry and we’re pretty much dominating teams every single night,” he added.
“He’s taken a huge step,” remarked Montgomery when he was asked about his teammate. “It’s actually been pretty incredible to watch. Last season we saw some potential but this season he’s taking it to a whole other level.”
The Calgary native was given the nod in Hockey Canada’s announcement on Monday afternoon for the World Junior’s Selection Camp. He’ll be joined by fellow Raiders teammate Ian Scott.
Whether Leason will make the team is yet to be seen, but it seems right now Leason can do anything he puts his mind to.