Former Kiltys assistant coach was long time Mountain resident
He was a familiar face at Mountain Arena and at the Inch Park pool in early May for several years.
Dennis Leeson died Aug. 12 at age 84.
Leeson was the goaltenders coach for the Hamilton Kilty B’s for several seasons back in the ‘90s.
“He was a gentleman through and through,” said Glenn Walsh, who was head coach of the Kilty’s during Leeson’s time with the team. “Dennis had a wealth of experience. When he worked with his goaltenders, I didn’t interfere a lot.”
Now an oil rig worker inAlberta, Walsh noted he had some pretty good goaltending in those days and he could always count on Leeson to back him in front of the players on any decision he made.
A long-time west Mountain resident, Leeson came up through Hamilton’s minor hockey system and played the 1949-50 season with the Cleveland Knights of the Eastern Hockey League.
He also had a tryout with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League.
“I got beat out by some guy called Johnny Bower,” Leeson once said.
Aaron MacCormack recalls Leeson telling him the same Johnny Bower story when he was a goalie with the Kiltys in the early ‘90s.
“He was a soft-spoken man,” said MacCormack. “He was always positive, never negative.”
Under Leeson’s tutelage MacCormack said he became a better goalie and he backstopped the Kiltys to Golden Horseshoe Junior B and Provincial Junior A West championships.
“If I had a bad game, he would kick my pads and say ‘we all have bad games, remember the good ones’,” MacCormack said.
Leeson’s son Bruce said his father worked as a bricklayer at Stelco for 30 years.
An avid fisherman, Leeson ran Lakeland Charters and competed in fishing tournaments across Canadaand the U.S.
His desire to share his love of fishing with children and adults with special needs saw the creation of the Hamilton Urban Fishing Derby more than 20 years ago.
For a few days each May, hundreds of adults and children with special needs got a chance to catch a trout in the pool at Inch Park.
The derby moved to the Parkdale pool a few years ago.
Leeson was also a guide at the Kesagami Wilderness Lodge inNorthern Ontario.