Brian Leetch (born March 3, 1968 in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA) is a professional ice hockey player with the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins. He is generally considered one of the top offensive defensemen in history, and arguably the best American defenseman as well; his election to the Hockey Hall of Fame after his retirement seems a virtual certainty.
He went to Cheshire High School, Avon Old Farms for two years, where he was also the school's top baseball pitcher, and later attended Boston College. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft 9th overall in the first round, and made his debut with the club in 1987, scoring 12 points in 17 games. In his first full year in 1988, he notched 71 points, including a rookie defenseman-record 23 goals, winning the Calder Trophy as well as being selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team.
As the Rangers slowly developed into a championship-caliber team, Leetch won increasing respect from fans for his quiet demeanor and entertaining, offensive-minded play. In 1992 he became the fifth defenseman in history, and the only American defenseman, to record 100 points in a season and was awarded the Norris Trophy. In 1994 he again matched his career high of 23 goals in the regular season as the Rangers won the Presidents Trophy. That year the Rangers' 54-year championship drought ended with a 7-game Stanley Cup victory over the Vancouver Canucks; Leetch became the first non-Canadian to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, and remains the only American to win it.
Olympic medal record Men's Ice Hockey Silver 2002 Salt Lake City Ice Hockey Following the Rangers' Cup win in 1994, Leetch remained a fan favorite and team leader, serving as Captain from 1998-2000 after the departure of Mark Messier. In 1997 he again won the Norris Trophy and the Rangers made a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers. The next years, however, were marked by disappointing team performances that saw the Rangers miss the playoffs every year. After the especially unsuccessful 2004 campaign, the Rangers traded most of their high-priced veterans; Leetch was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs just prior to the trade deadline for prospects Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, and a 1st round pick in the 2004 draft, which became Lauri Korpikoski, and a 2nd round pick in 2005, which became Michael Sauer. Leetch played well with the Leafs in the playoffs.
After the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Leetch was signed by the Boston Bruins to a one-year, $4-million contract. During this season with the Bruins, he scored his 1,000th career point.