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Broncos’ Leslie named Central Division Executive of the Year

Posted on 3 April 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

Contributed

The Western Hockey League announced on Wednesday, that Broncos General Manager Chad Leslie has been named as the Central Division’s Executive of the Year, and a nominee for the WHL’s Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy.

Leslie (Elkhorn, Man.), is currently in his third season as the Broncos General Manager, Leslie’s Broncos earned a 40-22-4-2 record this season, the best under Leslie’s watch, leading the Broncos to their first WHL Playoffs since 2018. It was the Broncos 13th 40-win season in Modern History (Since 1986/1987), and first in the 68-game era. It was another year of improvement for the club as well as under Leslie’s watch, the Broncos have improved their win totals in all three seasons from 26 to 31 to 40.

The Broncos also won the Central Division, the team’s first division title since 2001. It was a strong second-half that helped propel the Broncos to the division crown as on January 10th the Broncos were 7th in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. In the final 28 games, the team was 19-7-2-0.

“I am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many good people al throughout our organization,” Leslie said. “To be recognized is an honour, but doesn’t happen without everyone’s hard work and support on a daily basis.”

It was also a season where depth played a big role as Leslie managed a Broncos squad that lost 147-man games due to injury during the season, including netminder Reid Dyck only starting 13 of the team’s first 40 games. 

The team also made a coaching change on November 29, naming Taras McEwen Interim Head Coach, followed by adding long-time NHL veteran Zack Smith as an Assistant Coach on December 27.

Unlike most General Managers, Leslie also holds a dual role as the team’s Director of Player Personnel. Of the 24 players currently on the Broncos playoff roster, just four of the players were acquired via trade, including 2004-born forward Conor Geekie, 2003-born defenders Tyson Galloway and Ryan McCleary, and 2004-born defenceman Zach Turner. 19 of the remaining 20 players were drafted, and one was listed. From those drafted players, Leslie has had some great success in the later rounds of the drafted, including Owen Pickering (9th Round), and Connor Hvidston (7th Round).

Leslie is now a nominee for the WHL’s Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Executive of the Year. Just two other Broncos executives have ever won the award. Brad McEwen in 2001, and Todd McClellan in 1997.

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