NORTH YORK’S MAZIARZ NAMED OJHL DEFENCEMAN OF YEAR
Date: Mar 20, 2019
Ontario Junior Hockey League resident reporter Ron Valentine is profiling the team captains of The OJ this fall.
BY RON VALENTINE
BRAYDON LEEKING (Photo by Tim Bates / OJHL Images) of the LINDSAY MUSKIES was a little late returning for his third season with the club. At first, Braydon wanted to play for an NAHL team, believing it would give him a better opportunity to get noticed.
But that did not work out as he expected and he picked up a couple of injuries on the way. So, when Muskies General Manager and Head Coach Dan West called, he was happy to come back.
Braydon is one of eight Muskies to wear an A this season. The 5-10-0-2 Muskies have not named a captain. He has seven goals and five assists this season.
Though still only 18, the native of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, who calls Kirkfield home, has lots of strong leadership qualities and brings needed experience to the squad. Braydon notes that the move of the Muskies to the East Division for this season makes for a lot of tough games. But they have already posted their share of upsets and now they need more consistency and this will come with experience, he says.
The team has to outwork its opposition each night, Braydon says. They have been working very hard on conditioning and this will reap rewards as the season moves along.
He likes to make his voice heard and doesn't like to think of the squad as veterans or rookies, they are just players, he says, and all have their part to play. Everyone has to buy into the system and execute to get the results and Braydon leads the way on the ice with his physical, but disciplined style.
Braydon, who played minor hockey in the Central Ontario Wolves AAA organization, is proud of the way the club contributes to the community – and he is a leader in that area – with events including ball hockey games, being involved in boys and girls clubs, "Jolly Jog" and "Crayola day”. Despite the recent lack of postseason hockey in Lindsay, Braydon praises the loyal fans who are always behind the team.
There are lots of teammates who deserve mention, he says, but he singled out the performances so far of veteran, but OJHL rookie, sniper Nick Lund (from Grand Forks, ND), who is tied for the team lead in points, and rookie goalkeeper Dean Buchholz, who played for the Detroit Fighting Irish in the USPHL and came in with lots of confidence. With the experienced returnee Blake Curran, they can form a strong duo. An exciting player to watch, he points out, is 16-year old right winger Kalvyn Watson who can dance with the puck, has excellent hands and has contributed early.
A strong season by Braydon (he came back too late to play in the Governors’ Showcase) will surely get him noticed as he starts to lay his plans for hockey after junior. He is on the ice in all situations and leads by hard work and example as he looks to play a major part in putting Lindsay back on the OJHL map in a positive way.
Follow Ron Valentine on Twitter @ronandlynda