Tuesday, March 23, 2010

REGINA PATS ALUMNI - BILL LeCAINE -


Bill LeCaine (RW/C) - 1955-57

I was born on the Lakota Sioux Wood Mountain reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1938. I am a distant relative of Sitting Bull and direct descendant of Chief Black Moon who fought with Sitting Bull at the battle of the "Little Big Horn". From there, to escape the army, Sitting Bull's tribe, along with his Chief Black Moon, fled to Canada and Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan.

My mother took me off the reserve at about age 4-5. From there I went to live with her on skidrow in Moose Jaw. After living on the street, the government took me away from my mother and I went to live in a children's shelter where I met two sisters that I had not met. The Government eventually closed the shelter and my sisters went one way and I the other. They moved me to Regina, Saskatchewan, where I eventually lived in various foster homes. I was never adopted.

I was signed to the Montreal Canadiens to a C form at the age of 12, which meant I was their property for life.

I played with the Regina Pats Junior Hockey Team from 1955-56 to 1957-58 season. I had the honor of playing in two Memorial Cups. In my rookie season, I only played one league game, scoring a goal and had one assist. The same season we won the Duluth International Juvenile Tournament defeating the host All-Stars 3-2. Coach Del Wilson and Manager Mike Kartusch took the whole team to Port Arthur, while I took the place of the injured Jerry Walker in the Play-offs where I played 7 games. First with Port Arthur North Stars, then Toronto Marlboros in the Memorial Cup.

In the 1958 Memorial Cup we had to play St. Bonfiace Canadiens, another sponsored Montreal Canadien Team. The first three games were played in the east and the last three in Regina. We then headed east by train, picking up the Saunder Brothers on the way. We played another Montreal Canadiens sponsored team, the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens.

I have a little story to tell. Samie Pollick had a goalie that could not stop a wet paper bag, so they put him in a body cast in the hospital with a broken back. A true story. They brought in Bruce Campbell from the Lakehead, who was the best goaltender in Canada. Well, instead of winning the Memorial Cup with him, we lost. That year we should have won the Memorial.

I got a scholarship with North Dakota University. From there I played in the International Hockey League from 1959-60 to 1966-67 with Denver, Minneapolis and Port Huron.

The following season I played with Balitmore Clippers in the American Hockey League. In 1968-69 I had a stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and played 4 games. Also played 51 games with Amarill0 Wranglers of the Central League. Then back to the International League with Port Huron from 1969-70 to 1974-75.

At the age of 72 Bill was in his 1st maraton on October 31, 2010 in Washington DC. There were 35,000 runners and I was running ro "Team Running Strong" to raise money for Native American children and families for the bare essentials in life, food, running water and shelter. Bill raised $3500 and his company has been supporting this cause for many years. Billy Mills a native American from the Rosebud Reservation won the 10,000 meter race and the gold metal for the USA in the 1964 Olympics was Bill's partner. On December 10th same year, another one his group is taking Christmas gifts to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. He said, "We focused on kids in the pas but the last couple of years we've beek taking warm clothes, like coats, mitts, etc. for the elders.

As a side note, my family and I were honored a year ago last October for being the first Native American from the University of North Dakota to play in the NHL. Also, a German publishing company just released a printed book in Germany about my Grandfather, whose name was our original name - John O'Kute Sica - which in English means, "hard to kill or hard to knock down". It is being release early this summer in Canada in English.

Bill is the President & CEO of the Arrow Technologies (A Native American Woman Owned Company) in Centennial, Colorado, U.S.A.