Brian Joseph Leetch (born March 3rd 1968) is a former ice hockey defenseman. He played 18 seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Brian Leetch is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensemen in NHL. He is one-time Stanley Cup Champion (1994) with the New York Rangers.
In high school Brian Leetch played baseball and ice hockey. He was very good for both, but Ice hockey was the sport in which he most liked. He played 1983-84 in Cheshire High School and made 101 points in 28 games. After that he played two seasons with Avon Old Farms, before he moved to the Boston College in season 1986-87.
He played one season in Boston after joined the US Olympic team – he played at the 1988 Games in Calgary. New York Rangers has drafted Leetch in 1986 as their first-round pick (9th overall) and he made his New York Rangers debut eight days after Olympic games.
New York Rangers
Brian Leetch made his NHL debut 29.2.1988 against St. Louis Blues. He played 14 games in 1987-88 season. In his first full NHL season (1988-89) Leetch won Calder Memorial Trophy as a rookie of the year. New York Rangers started slowly became good team and Brian Leetch was a big part of that. He was one of the fans favorites, because his offensive-minded playing style. in the 1991-92 season Leetch became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to record over 100 points. Same season he won the Norris Trophy as a best defenseman of NHL.
In the season 1993-94 Leetch and New York Rangers ended 54-year Stanley Cup Championship drought – they won Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Brian Leetch awarded Conn Smythe Trophy as an MVP of the playoffs. After Mark Messier moved to the Vancouver Canucks, Brian Leetch was named captain of the Rangers. Leetch was captain 1997-2000, but give back the captaincy, after Messier returned to the Rangers. After season 2003-04, New York Rangers traded most of their high-priced veterans and Leetch was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Rest of career
Brian Leetch was set to play the 2004-05 season with Toronto, but because there was NHL lockout, his contract expires. Leetch became a free agent and he signed by the Boston Bruins – 1-year contract. He played with the Bruins in the season 2005-06 and after season he retired.
Other interesting stuff
Brian Leetch won two Norris Trophies as the NHL’s best defenseman (1992 and 1997). and one Conn Smythe Trophy (1994) for the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs (first American-born). Brian Leetch has been chosen to the NHL First All-Star Team 2 times (1992 and 1997). Brian Leetch played 1129 NHL games with New York Rangers and made 981 (250+741) points (most games of all time, most assists of all time and 2nd at points of all time).