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Swift Current Broncos GM Chad Leslie grateful for years in Estevan

Chad Leslie spent one season as a player with the Estevan Bruins and was part of the organization after his playing days were finished:
Chad Leslie Swift Current Broncos pic
Swift Current Broncos GM Chad Leslie was back in Estevan on Tuesday.

ESTEVAN - Swift Current Broncos general manager Chad Leslie will never forget Estevan or the impact from his time spent in the Energy City.

Leslie was back in Estevan Tuesday night for the WHL preseason game between the Broncos and the Regina Pats.

A Bruin alumni on and off the ice, Leslie played with the Bruins during the 1997-98 season, and then joined the organization as an assistant coach in 2009-10. He served as the Bruins’ interim head coach-GM over the final 2 1/2 months of the 2010-11 season.

Leslie always enjoys coming back to Estevan.

“It’s nice to bring our team back here, and see a lot of familiar faces, so it’s been really exciting for me,” said Leslie, who was also in Estevan for the Centennial Cup national tournament in May.

When he returns, he gets to see and talk to a lot of people he hasn’t encountered in a long time.

Since leaving Estevan after the 2011 season, he moved to Virden, Man. He and his brother Troy started the Virden Oil Capitals of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 2012, and Chad Leslie was with them for a few years.

Then Leslie became a regional scout with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, and in 2018, he became the Broncos’ director of scouting.

He was named the assistant GM in 2021, the interim GM in October of last year and the permanent GM this past January.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” said Leslie.

He is grateful for the time he spent in Estevan, as it was his first opportunity to serve as a coach and a GM.

“Karry Biette brought me on, and was really great with me, giving me lots of opportunity. I’m so very grateful for all of that I had in Estevan, because without it, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”

His final season with the Bruins was also the Black and Gold’s last campaign in the Civic Auditorium, and Leslie wishes he could have spent a season or two with the team in Affinity Place.

When given the opportunity to bring the Broncos to Estevan for a preseason game, he jumped at it. The Pats put everything in motion and did the majority of work, he said, and the Broncos agreed to play.

Leslie is confident with the team the Broncos have. Last season they had 14 players who were 16 or 17 years old.

“We’ll be young again this year. We’ll have in and around 17 or 18 [players who are] 16, 17 and 18 years old. It’s still a young group, but I think we’re poised to take a step forward.”

Five Broncos’ players were selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, including defenceman Owen Pickering, who was taken in the first round by the Pittsburgh Penguins. All five draftees were in NHL camps the night of the preseason game in Estevan. Two other players were in pro camps, too.

Leslie is very proud of the guys selected in the draft.

“It was really surreal,” said Leslie. “It was really nice to see all the hard work that our kids have put in, and the commitment their families  have put towards it. We feel very fortunate with the quality of kids and families that we have. So I think that was the most rewarding part of the whole day was just to see them excited and get rewarded for all the hard work they put in.”

Regina won the preseason game 4-2 in front of a large crowd at Affinity Place.

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