Former Vees standout Joey LaLeggia inks deal with Oilers
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - Submitted by BCHL Media
All along, Joey LaLeggia has known it's about the big picture and not the supposed fast track.
The 2011 BCHL Interior Conference MVP and Top Defenceman was not selected in the WHL bantam draft like many of his midget hockey teammates. He instead plied his trade with the Penticton Vees for two full seasons, accepted a hockey scholarship to the University of Denver and basically excelled everywhere his career took him.
Even after being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, his final year of eligibility to be selected, he finished out his college years to allow himself the maximum time to learn, get stronger and round out his game.
Today, the patience has paid off as LaLeggia came to terms with the Oilers on a two-year entry-level contract.
“I’m extremely excited and honoured to be a part of the organization,” LaLeggia told edmontonoilers.com. “I just can’t thank my teammates and coaches from Denver enough for what they’ve done for me over the last four years. It’s just really great to have an opportunity to come down here to the United States to play hockey when maybe the WHL wasn’t exactly suited for me. I can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough.”
LaLeggia, a native of Burnaby, BC, racked up 33 goals and 114 assists for 147 points in 114 BCHL games with the Vees. He scored 49 goals and 82 assists for 131 points in 156 career NCAA games with Denver.
"He’s the most dominant player in the best conference in college hockey,” Denver head coach Jim Montgomery said to edmontonoilers.com.
In the Oilers organization, LaLeggia hopes to rejoin minor hockey pal Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - whom he played with in the 2008-09 season in the BC Major Midget League - and perhaps team on the Oilers blueline with former BCHL Interior rival Justin Schultz who was with the West Kelowna Warriors when LaLeggia was with Penticton.
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