How about that Jeff Legue?
Wouldn’t Jeff Legue look good in a Riverkings uniform - slap me out of my dream - instant fan favourite and local boy, it was talked about last year, play for Al and Mike (Ruest) again, play with your long time ice enemy and now brother in law, Brennan Barker, would have been something.
Where does the time go, it seems like yesterday that those golden locks of fabulous flow were winding up inside his own end and streaking down the Si Miller ice surface.
That was over twelve years ago. He went to Ferris State and played with Colts teammate Matt Verdoni and some guy named Chris Kunitz, but die hard Colts fans will never forget the impact that number 11 had on his team and his community. Where has he been? Those that follow local hockey religiously, know that Jeff went to Great Britain and found a way to make an impact on a league, that not many of us knew or cared about, playing for the Sheffield Steelers of the Elite Ice Hockey League of the United Kingdom. I got to know Jeff during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, hockey seasons that players, coaches and play by play guys can only dream of.
I am sure, Al Wagar re-visits those years often, he owned the team, the town and it helped him secure a spot in our Hall of Fame, among the other things big Al has done and continues to do. That Colts team had everything, and yet nothing was a given, as they were forced to the limit to win back to back league championships and that alone made those two years even more special. Jeff Legue was the Captain and leader on a team that simply had no quit in them and had fun playing the best game in the world.
I remember one day showing up for practice, Cogeco had asked me to cover some players and when I got to the Si, Big Al was calling the team to the boards near the bench on the west side of the arena. Everyone was on the ice except Legue. He was tardy getting to the rink that day. When he finally appeared from the dressing room and realized that he was too late, Jeff Legue crawled on his hands and knees all the way around to the players bench, just in time to hear Al say, “give me two laps and lets get started.”
The Captain blended into the crowd and almost got away with a minor violation that afternoon, except Jeff had forgotten his helmet, in his haste to get onto the ice. Who will ever forget the goal he scored against Ottawa in game seven of the 2000 final.
A night after Andrew Schembri had saved their butts in overtime of game six, Legue crossed the Senators blue line and let go a ‘bar down’ slap shot that lifted the roof off the ‘old girl’ and would propel the good guys to a 7-0 win and a spot in the Coaticook Fred Page Cup. On Sunday last, Jeff Legue assisted on another game wining goal in a 2-1 win over rival Hull.
Sure it was just another assist in his long hockey career, but this one was special - for it was Jeff Legue’s 500th point since heading overseas seven years ago. He became only the fifth player in the history of the EIHL to accomplish the milestone. Sitting here thinking about Jeff and his career, I am quite certain as Jeff Legue grew up matching wits with his twin sister Jennifer, there was never a dream in his youth, that woke him up smiling about playing hockey in a nation that loves its soccer as much as we love our game, never a conversation with his father Bill about the city of Sheffield, England, until that possibility became a reality in 2007, a few years before Bill’s death.
But the day after he scored that 500th point, during the eleventh minute of the first period, I am sure that dream brought a smile and a tear, when the home town Sheffield faithful did something so very special. They rose in unison and stood cheering for that entire eleventh minute of play. A fitting tribute to their number 11, because that day and forever more, Cornwall’s Jeff Legue, will have a spot in Britain’s hockey annals and as Mel Allen would say - How about that!