By Chad Hudson, on 08/13/2013

A young man rides a tractor, chases cows, bails hay, seeds the fields, harvests crops and spends the weekends on his family farm in Wadena, Saskatchewan, Canada.

This same man trains every day during the week, lifting weights, practicing and skating, preparing for his real job; a lock-down defenseman for the Oklahoma City Barons.

Joey Leach spends his time between Saskatoon and Wadena Saskatchewan over the summer. Outside of his preparations for the upcoming season, his time consists of wakeboarding on the local lake, farming and relaxing with family and friends.

“I grew up on the farm and that’s something I really love to do—farming,” Leach said.

All of that is a release from the intense training for the 21-year-old defenseman who is preparing for a season of shutting down the opposition’s top players. Exactly the way his favorite NHL player did, Nicklas Lidstrom.

At just over 1,300 people, Leach’s hometown of Wadena won’t be mistaken for a booming metropolis. Despite the differences between Wadena and Oklahoma City, Leach sees similarities between two and thinks Oklahoma City is an appealing place for him because it brings a similar pace of life.

“[Oklahoma City] is a lot bigger than Wadena, but it has that smaller atmosphere, which I love,” Leach said. “When I was down there, I enjoyed it. It’s not too busy of a place, so that helps me feel comfortable.”

The warmer weather is one thing Leach looks forward to. Growing up he said he played in rinks so cold that the water bottles would freeze on the benches. The weather in Wadena even dipped to minus 49 degrees, which is the coldest he has experienced.

Despite the intense cold and long odds Leach still worked his way to being drafted 73rd overall by the Calgary Flames in 2010.

He found out he had been drafted while watching the NHL Network with his family and friends at the family farm in Wadena.

“It was an awesome feeling. I was very excited and proud of myself for being able to accomplish that,” Leach said.

Fans can expect a physical style of play from Leach, with opposing players having a tough time playing against him. Although he is a younger player on the team, he hopes his impact will help further the run of success the Barons have had the past two years.

Entering his rookie season, after playing in one game last year for the Barons, Leach is ready to be back on the ice with his teammates. The goal is to settle the unfinished business from last season by finishing the playoffs as Calder Cup champions.

“I am very excited to be coming down to Oklahoma to start the year,” Leach said. “It should be a great year.”

Joey Leach File:

Height: 6’4”
Weight: 200 pounds
Position: Defense
Birthday: January 29, 1992
Hometown: Wadena, Saskatchewan, Canada
Favorite Movie: Slap Shot
Favorite Food: Steak and Potatoes
Favorite Music: Country
Favorite Artist: Brad Paisley
Favorite Actor/Actress: Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn
Nickname: Leacher
Dream Vacation Spot: Hawaii

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