VANCOUVER – Brett Leason, the 25th ranked North American skater for the 2019 NHL Draft presented by adidas, has been awarded the annual E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, the National Hockey League announced.
First awarded in 2015, the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence is presented annually by the league to a candidate who best exemplifies a commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness, and athleticism.
In 2018-19, the Calgary, Alta., native led the Prince Albert Raiders in scoring in both the regular season (36-53—89 in 55 GP) and playoffs (10-15—25 in 22 GP) to propel the Raiders to the franchise’s first Western Hockey League championship since 1986. Leason, a 6-foot-4 right-wing, also represented Team Canada this season at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship (3-2—5 in 5 GP).
“Brett Leason has displayed passion, perseverance, and commitment to better himself, and in doing so he’s represented the core attributes of the E.J. McGuire award,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting. “He has showed strength of character by continuing to work hard to pursue his goals, utilize his skills and physical assets, as well as improve his skating after going undrafted and being traded early in his WHL career.”
B.J. MacDonald, Vancouver Canucks alumni and longtime scout alongside E.J. McGuire with NHL Central Scouting, presented Leason with an engraved NHL crystal immediately following club roll call at the 2019 NHL Draft on Saturday.
The Washington Capitals selected Leason with the 56th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
After many years of coaching and scouting at various levels of hockey, McGuire joined the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau in 2002 and assumed day-to-day responsibility for the department in 2005. McGuire spearheaded an operation that provided scouting and evaluation of draft-eligible players to NHL Member Clubs. He led a team of eight full-time and 15 part-time scouts throughout North America. Just as he brought innovation to the coaching profession throughout his career, McGuire was responsible for several advancements in the area of scouting during his nine years at the league, including the development of a new scouting technology system that brought the “art” of scouting to a whole new level. He was instrumental in raising both the effectiveness and profile of the league’s annual scouting combine. McGuire lost his short, but courageous battle with cancer in April 2011.
2018: 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos
2017: Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads)
2016: Neil Doef
2015: Travis Konecny (Sarnia Sting)