Calgary, AB – As part of the Western Hockey League’s 50th Season celebrations, a panel of historians selected the top 125 players in WHL history this past September. From this list, WHL fans voted at Top50.whl.ca to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time. This week, the fan and panel voting results revealed the following placements:
#29 – Reggie Leach (Flin Flon Bombers)
#28 – Ray Allison (Brandon Wheat Kings)
#27 – Dan Hodgson (Prince Albert Raiders)
#29 Reggie Leach (Flin Flon Bombers, 1967-70)
After the Flin Flon Bombers joined the WCHL, Leach spent three seasons with the Club from 1967 to 1970. The sniper earned a WCHL First Team All-Star nod in each of those campaigns. In 1967-68, Leach found the back of the net a League-best 87 times and his 131 points were ranked second overall in WCHL scoring behind his linemate, Bob Clarke. The following season, Leach lit the lamp 36 times in only 22 regular season games before potting a League-best 13 goals in the playoffs. The Bombers captured the WCHL Championship and the James Piggott Trophy as Canadian Dominion Champions that season.
During his final year in junior hockey, Leach received the WCHL Most Valuable Player award. Leach led the League with 65 markers and he finished with 111 points to also earn the WCHL Top Scorer Award. The captain of the Bombers then tallied 27 points (16g-11a) in the postseason as Flin Flon claimed their second straight League title.
At the conclusion of his WCHL career, Leach had recorded 288 points (188g-100a) in 138 regular season games. In 50 postseason outings, Leach notched 63 points and his 41 goals are ranked third all-time over a playoff career. The Boston Bruins selected Leach third overall in the 1970 NHL Draft and his NHL career went on to span 13 years including eight seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers.
In 1974-75, Leach joined his junior teammate, Clarke, on the Flyers and the pair rekindled their magic to win a Stanley Cup. The Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final the following year but were unable to defend their title. However, Leach was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the NHL Playoffs despite the loss.
When Leach hung up his skates, he had compiled 666 points (381g-285a) in 934 regular season games and registered 69 playoff points (47g-22a) in 94 outings. The Riverton, MB native was also a member of Team Canada’s championship-winning team at the 1976 Canada Cup. Leach’s jersey now hangs in the rafters of the Whitney Forum after the Bombers retired his number.
#28 Ray Allison (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1975-79)
Allison eclipsed the 100-point plateau during three of his four seasons as a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings. His line, which primarily included Brian Propp and Bill Derlago, dominated the League as Allison placed second overall in the scoring race in all three of those seasons. The product of Cranbrook, BC had a breakout campaign in 1976-77 as he tallied 137 points (45g-92a) in 71 regular season games. Allison then notched 20 playoff points to guide Brandon to the WCHL Final. The following season, Allison earned a WCHL Second Team All-Star nod after racking up 160 points (74g-86a) in 71 games.
In 1978-79, Allison collected 153 points (60g-93a) in 62 regular season games on one of the most dominant teams in League history. Allison was one of five Wheat Kings players that were chosen to the first all-star team that season. The Wheat Kings put together a WHL-record 125-point regular season on their way to winning their first WHL Championship in franchise history. Allison finished second in scoring during the 1979 WHL Playoffs with 37 points (18g-19a). Brandon was unable to lift the Memorial Cup as the Wheat Kings lost in overtime of the Championship game, but Allison was named to the tournament all-star team after an eight-point performance.
Over his regular season career, Allison ranks eighth all-time with 476 points and ninth all-time with 288 assists in 242 games. Allison’s 75 points in 49 postseason contests are 10th all-time over a playoff career while his 36 goals are tied for fifth.
The Hartford Whalers selected Allison in the first round, 18th overall, of the 1979 NHL Draft. He also played for the Philadelphia Flyers before ending his career in Switzerland. At the end of his NHL career, Allison had amassed 157 points (64g-93a) in 237 regular season games and added five playoff points (2g-3a) in 12 appearances. In addition, Allison captured the 1988 Calder Cup Championship with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
#27 Dan Hodgson (Prince Albert Raiders, 1982-85)
Hodgson topped the 50-goal mark and 100-point barrier in each of the three seasons that he played for the Prince Albert Raiders from 1982 to 1985. In 1982-83, Hodgson was a bright spot on the Raiders as he took home WHL Rookie of the Year honours. He finished ninth in League scoring with 130 points (56g-74a) in 72 games that season. During his sophomore campaign, Hodgson finished second in the scoring race as he notched 181 points (62g-119a) in 66 games.
Hodgson was named CHL Player of the Year in his final year of junior hockey as he guided the Raiders to the League’s best regular season record. For the second consecutive year, the playmaker was the runner-up in League scoring. His 182 points (70g-112a) in 64 regular season games that season are good enough to tie for ninth all-time. The captain of the Raiders then recorded a League-best 36 points (10g-26a) in the 1985 WHL Playoffs to lead the Raiders to their only WHL Championship in franchise history. Hodgson then helped Prince Albert win the 1985 Memorial Cup by providing a tournament-record 13 helpers. He capped off his sensational year by winning the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the MVP of the tournament. Hodgson was also a member of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Championship.
At the end of his WHL career, Hodgson had accumulated 493 points (188g-305a) in 204 regular season games and 44 points (15g-29a) in 18 playoff contests. Over his regular season career, Hodgson ranks sixth all-time in points and assists and also holds the Prince Albert Raiders record for most goals, assists and points.
A fifth-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1983 NHL Draft, Hodgson also played for the Vancouver Canucks. In 114 NHL regular season games, Hodgson registered 74 points (29g-45a). The native of Fort McMurray, AB then finished his career in Europe with the majority of it spent in Switzerland.