Photo: Hockey Hall of Fame
Flyers great Reggie "The Rifle" Leach's Hall of Fame credentials seem pretty solid. He played 13 NHL seasons, eight with the Flyers. He led the NHL with 61 goals in 1975-76 as a member of the infamous "LCB" line with Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber– still a franchise record. And in the Stanley Cup playoffs that season, he scored 19 goals (in just 16 games), a record that still stands, shared with Jari Kurri. That post-season performance earned him MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs on a losing team, the only non-goaltender to ever receive that honor.
Overall, he finished his career with 381 goals and a devilish 666 points, which at least puts him in the Hall of Fame conversation. I usually leave the Hall of Fame debates to others who care more deeply about such things, but I bring this up because there is an online petition to get Leach into the Hall.
This movement has been captured in song by alt/rock artist, hockey fan and Winnipeg native, John K. Samson of the Weakerthans, with a song on his latest solo album, Provincial, which takes its lyrics from the petition he also started. [Listen to the song here]
On Samson's website:
"Even if I don't get in, it's just great to have all these people signing it, behind it, behind me. Their support is my Hockey Hall of Fame." — Reggie Leach in the Manitoulin Expositor, February 14, 2012.
I am really pleased that my song/petition to induct the great Reggie Leach into the Hockey Hall of Fame — www.ipetitions.com/petition/rivertonrifle/ — now has more than 1000 signatures. I'd like to submit the petition to the Hall at the end of 2012 in the hopes that they will consider Reggie for induction in 2013. Please sign the petition and ask others to do. (Oh, ipetitions.com will ask you to donate to their site, but please do not feel obliged. Your signature will be registered either way.)
What's the connection? Leach grew up in the small town of Riverton, Manitoba, about 70 miles north of Winnipeg, so Leach is kind of the local hero. This link has more on how and why it all came about.
Coincidentally, Samson is on tour right now and is playing the Union Transfer in Philly on Sunday March 11th. He might not even mind if a few "Let's Go Flyers" chants break out.