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Brian Leetch Earns Hockey East's Top All-Time Defensive Defenseman

On May 25, 2007, the New York Times reported on Brian Leetch's retirement "officially ending the 18-year career of arguably the best American-born player in NHL history."

On May 25, 2007, the New York Times reported on Brian Leetch's retirement "officially ending the 18-year career of arguably the best American-born player in NHL history."

Dec. 18, 2008

Former Boston College hockey player Brian Leetch has been voted Hockey East's Top All-Time Defensive Defenseman in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebration of the league, according to an announcement made on Thursday.

Leetch, whose father, Jack, played three years (1960-63) years at the Heights, made his own name at Boston College and in Hockey East in just one season - 1986-87.

As a freshman, Leetch earned Hockey East Player of the Year accolades, Rookie of the Year honors and captured the Most Valuable Player award of the Hockey East Tournament during BC's memorable 31-8-0 season. Boston College earned the 1986-87 Hockey East regular-season title with a record of 26-6-0 and topped Maine, 4-2, to win BC's first Hockey East Tournament title.

Individually, Leetch earned All-America first-team honors and All-New England accolades. After tallying 47 points - nine goals and 38 assists - in 37 games, the Cheshire, Conn., product was honored as the 1987 recipient of the Walter Brown Award, which is given annually to the top American-born player in New England. He also gained team MVP honors on a BC roster that included future NHL notables Kevin Stevens, Greg Brown, Ken Hodge, Craig Janney and Tim Sweeney.

"During his one year at Boston College, Brian Leetch was the most talented and near-perfect athlete I have ever coached," legendary BC head coach Len Ceglaski said. "He then became just as proficient and a true pleasure to watch as a professional for so many years. Equally important, Brian was one of the most humble and respected hockey players wherever and whenever he appeared, both on and off the ice. I'm indeed proud and honored to have had Brian as a player and a friend."

After playing in his first of three Olympics (Calgary 1988), Leetch made his professional debut with the New York Rangers on Feb. 29, 1988. From there, he captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year in 1988-89, was a two-time recipient of the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman (1991-92 and 1996-97), won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP as a member of the New York Rangers' team in 1994, was an 11-time NHL All-Star and six-time Rangers team MVP.

He finished his storied career with 1,028 points in 1,205 games.

Leetch was elected to the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in August 2008.

Hockey East's Top Defensive Defenseman was chosen by a fan vote through the league's official website - HockeyEastOnline.com - and votes from Hockey East's 25th Anniversary Committee, which includes representatives from each Hockey East school.

Here is a list of the remaining players that finished in the Top Ten voting for Best Defensive Defenseman, in alphabetical order (because of a four-way tie for tenth place, there are 12 players listed): Peter Ahola (BU), Andrew Alberts (BC), Bob Beers (Maine), Greg Brown (BC), Hal Gill (PC), Chris Imes (Maine), Scott Lachance (BU), Dan McGillis (NU), Freddy Meyer (BU), Brooks Orpik (BC), Peter Taglianetti (PC) and Eric Weinrich (Maine).

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