When a championship is on the line and a Tier 1 team needs a player, who better to call up than the captain of the club’s Tier 2 team?
It worked for the North Shore Winter Club Winterhawks.
Whitehorse’s Jonas Leas, who captains the Winterhawks Tier 2 squad, answered the call.
The 14-year-old helped the Tier 1 team win gold at the Western Canada Bantam Hockey Championships.
“It was great to be a part of it,” said Leas. “I did my best to contribute and we all worked hard and it was a great win overall for everyone.”
The Winterhawks, a Vancouver-based team representing B.C. as the provincial championships, beat Alberta’s Lloydminster Heat 4-3 in double overtime on Sunday in Kelowna, B.C.
Leas played five games with the Winterhawks at the westerns, which also included Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the hosting Kelowna team. He logged a goal against Saskatchewan at the championship.
The winger, who is an alumni of the Whitehorse Mustangs rep club, also had a great season with his Winterhawk Tier 2 team.
The Winterhawks won the Tier 2 Port Moody Tournament and took bronze in the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament with Leas leading the tournament in scoring with 19 points in six games.
The team later defeated long-time rival Mission to reach the final of the Tier 2 provincial championships. The Winterhawks finished with silver after a loss to Penticton.
Leas, who was born and raised in Whitehorse, has played with the North Shore Winter Club the last three seasons.
“It’s been great, there are lots of great coaches and we’re able to accomplish a lot,” said Leas.
“On Jonas’ team there are players from Merritt, Campbell River, from Kitimat, from all over the Lower Mainland – they move their families to come and be part of this program,” said father Daryn Leas. “To take advantage of this high level coaching, take advantage of the skill development with ex-NHL players working with the kids, in addition to all the coaching they get. It’s a top-flight program.
“Jonas has done really well. It’s raised his skill level over the last three years to be one of the elite players.”
Jonas is not the only Leas excelling in the Winterhawks program. His 10-year-old sister Zoe became the first female player in a number of seasons to earn a spot on the Winterhawks’ Tier 1 atom boys team.
Jonas isn’t quite ready to hang up the skates for the season. He will compete for a chance to play at the B.C. Cup with the first round of selection camps this weekend.
“There are a lot of great players going in, but I think I can make the second round with a lot of hard work and doing what I’ve been doing for the past couple years,” said Leas. “There are so many great players from across B.C. – it’ll be a tough one.”
Contact Tom Patrick at