John LeClair - The Ambassador of Vermont Hockey

There are no athletes who stand taller in the eyes of Vermonters then their own homegrown superstar, John LeClair.  Born in the small northern town of Saint Albans, Vermont, LeClair did not travel the route that many talented Vermont hockey players do, transplanting to out-of-state preparatory schools in order to prepare them for a run at the NHL.

For LeClair, he stayed close to home, playing at his local BFA-Saint Albans high school team and then accepting a scholarship to play at the University of Vermont.  After just one season with the Catamounts, LeClair was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the 1987 entry draft, showing the value NHL teams placed on the 6-foot-three-inch forward’s ability to produce solid offensive numbers.

Despite being labeled as a potential NHL star early in his career, LeClair stayed humble, continuing to produce for the Catamounts despite battling several injuries.  His Catamount career was capped by a brilliant 20 goal, 25 assist, in 33 games played Senior season.

What followed LeClair’s college career was a formidable 17 year run in the NHL, accumulating four first team All-Star selections and two team USA Olympic appearances.

However, despite all of his worldwide accolades, John LeClair has never lost sight of his Vermont roots. After LeClair hung up his skates for the last time at the end of his 2006-07 season with the Pittsburg Penguins, he continued to come back to Vermont to give back to the State that raised him.  The John LeClair Foundation, which works to provide grants to non-profit organizations that service children in Vermont, serves as the prime example of the type of role model LeClair is to the Vermont community at large. 

Although many outside the State will point to LeClair’s five season stretch where he scored 40 plus goals with the Philadelphia Flyers as the bright spot of his career, those who know LeClair best, will point to his annual fundraising golf tournament in Saint Albans or his numerous visits to child facilities across the State to bring some cheer to those less fortunate as LeClair’s crowning achievements. 

There are a lot of superstar athletes out there that can wow a crowd or inspire a city with their play on the ice.  However, when it comes to superstar athletes, who are also superstar people, there are far less.  Vermont is just lucky enough to have one of the best in John LeClair.